About four years ago, Joan Benson, cafeteria supervisor, thought that students could benefit from her own passion, and brought in her own personal karaoke equipment and CD’s for students to use.
“I use to sing all the time and then we thought that a lot of the students would like to sing, and you know what, it would be very good for them as well,” said Benson. “Plus it gave me an opportunity to sing too.”
The Cafeteria has been holding karaoke sessions from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday ever since.
“It’s been successful,” Benson said. “We have at least 10 regulars and I’ve noticed that a lot of the kids that wouldn’t ordinarily get up, get up and they sing and they love it. They’ve gotten a better self-image because of it.”
Soon however, those students will have to go elsewhere to sing tunes publicly because the Cafeteria as it was, will be open for the last time on Dec. 16.
Construction plans for a new cafeteria and second floor library are set to begin soon after, and according to Benson won’t be complete for about 2 years.
Benson who has been working in the cafeteria since 1981 says she will most likely retire.
“A lot of people are going to miss it a lot,” said Benson. “I’m going to miss my job, I loved my job, I loved the students, they’ve made my job so wonderful. It’s sad.”
Jeremiah Whitman, the volunteer DJ who often sings and performs on Wednesday afternoons, was a Pierce student from 2004-2006 and has been running the karaoke events for about three years.
“It’s become very important to a lot of the regulars here, they look forward to it every week,” said Whitman.
Rachael Johnson, 28, is an art major at Pierce who has been partaking in karaoke ever since becoming a Pierce student four years ago.
“It’s fun and it takes away from everything else like the stress and stuff that I feel here and at home, it’s going to suck when it’s over,” Johnson said.
As Johnson sit’s at the table, directly in front of the karaoke set-up, there sits all the other regulars who have become, what she considers, a tight knit group.
One regular in particular, Krysta Moffatt, agrees that Karaoke has brought people together.
“We all have such a great time here and we’ve become very close,” said Moffatt.
With two more sessions to go, the students still find a way to stay up beat. They dance background for each other, sing along and applaud one another.
Even cafeteria employees can’t help the lure and join-in.
Carol Thomason spent her lunch break on Wednesday, video-taping some of the performances.
“It’s my favorite day of the whole week,” Thomason said. “It livens up the whole place and it’s exciting.”
She also finds it to be very beneficial to the students.
“It gives them a chance to be themselves and be silly and have the stress taken away from them a little bit,” Thomason said.
While Benson expresses a sense of remorse she has faith that the regulars will continue to sing and enjoy karaoke elsewhere.
“They’re not going to stop doing it,” said Benson. “Once they get a taste of it and feel that adrenaline, they can’t put down the microphone.”
Benson doesn’t plan on putting down the microphone either; she’s going take her equipment home and continue to do what she loves.
“Harmony is my first love,” Benson said.