Students provide needed services

December 12, 1993|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,Staff Writer

Need a haircut? Have a problem with your car? Looking for flowers for your holiday table or a new lunch spot?

Forget the Yellow Pages. Instead, turn to Harford Technical High School.

It's a user-friendly school that offers a variety of services to the public.

During a recent open house at the school, beautiful floral centerpieces were for sale at a reasonable cost of $12.

Prices are usually lower than retail rates for customers, but the students are the real beneficiaries.

Eleventh-grader Julie Brinegar said that working with flowers is not only interesting but good for her future.

"You get to work with lots of flowers and learn their names," she said. A floral design background should also help her get a job after high school, she said.

"We sell flowers like you wouldn't believe," said Dale H. Neeper, school coordinator for tech prep and marketing.

The students have done arrangements for weddings and funerals, he said. Also, at prom time, students from other schools often order their flowers at Tech.

Customers can place orders through the school. The only catch is that the orders are cash and carry.

Meanwhile, it's cash and chew at the school restaurant -- the Thomas Run Inn -- which seats about 30 patrons. It's open from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. weekdays.

Culinary students do everything from ordering to serving to preparing the food, Mr. Neeper said.

A recent menu included: chicken vegetable soup with grilled cheese sandwich for $2.70; tuna au gratin served over rotini with a choice of vegetable, $2.90; and a hot pork sandwich served with oven-brown potatoes and sauerkraut, $2.85.

The school principal, David W. Thomas, is a frequent diner there.

Tipping is not allowed. The students are there to learn, a school worker said.

Senior cosmetology students also give haircuts and manicures to the public in a classroom-turned-salon that looks like the usual hair cuttery with its row of beautician chairs and hair dryers.

The services allow the students to "get used to working with customers," Mr. Neeper said.

Students in automotive classes also work on customers' cars.

Mr. Neeper cautioned, however, that there is no guarantee a car will be fixed in a day.

"After all, it is a class project," he said.

The plus is that customers only have to pay for parts.

What about customer satisfaction?

"They do it till it's right. It has to be perfect," Mr. Neeper said.

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