Cole Feyen finds a home away from home within his work environment

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Cole Feyen

Cole (blue shirt) and his co-workers posing in the kitchen at Sentinel Pointe.

Senior Cole Feyen once made a friend by simply knocking on their door. 

As he has been working at Sentinel Pointe Retirement Community for over a year and a half now, he recalls a memory from the depths of quarantine when he and his co-workers were delivering meals to residents. 

“During the first quarantine,” Cole said, “every resident had to have every meal delivered to them, so as the servers, we’d take a cart for a certain floor out, knock on thirty people’s doors, give them their food, and then go on to the next.”

Such a small gesture led to a developed pastime; one resident in specific hit it off with Cole. 

“There was this one lady who we just started hanging out with,” Cole said. “We’d go in a room and talk to her as she was making food or doing her exercises. She just always let us in and talked to us and gave us food, and sometimes, we’d sit out on her porch and just converse.” 

Within this job, Cole has created some true relationships with residents. When he first found out about this opportunity, he was hesitant in taking it, but thanks to some of his friends’ encouragement, Cole is happily working and thriving there every single day.

“My friends, [seniors] Holly McLenithan and Olivia Dewald, have been working there since before the first quarantine,” Cole said. “And during that first quarantine, sophomore year, they told me to come serve with them; I said no [at] first. After a while, I decided I wanted a new job, and it seemed fun.”

There are so many different viewpoints on life and different things, so it’s kind of interesting to get that huge range of perspectives.”

— Cole Feyen

As a result of Cole’s dedication to his newfound job, serving at Sentinel Pointe is now considered a part of his school schedule; this is a course called Work Experience. This is when students are allowed to leave school during the day to go work a shift.

For Cole, this is a huge benefit. It doesn’t only give him an early dismissal, but it allows him to work a few extra hours and spend more time with his co-workers. On a day-to-day basis, he goes in at 1:00 p.m.—when everyone else gets there closer to 3:30 p.m.—and he carpools with his friend, senior Merrick Schaafsma, who’s conveniently on the same schedule.   

“Now, it’s a bit different because I have Work Experience,” Cole said. “There are three mealtimes: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So, if I get in early, I roll any extra silverware that needs to be rolled [and] take care of any dishes that need to be washed. I can basically do anything to prepare for dinner—take orders that people are putting in on the phone, prepare the dessert for the night, just random stuff I’m doing while nobody’s there.”

Through dedicating so much time to Sentinel Pointe, Cole has made a plethora of friends—whether from FHC or not. This has expanded his horizons in regards to creating new relationships his senior year, and within this, Cole has been able to watch and appreciate his co-workers’ employee growth over time. 

“Over the course of the experience,” Cole stated, “there were some older kids from other high schools that I met. I watched [people] grow from a server to a cook. All the servers now are just Central kids, so it’s us and all the little freshmen.”

Cole enjoys everyone’s presence at work; although the shifts are long and require lots of effort, his co-workers make it all the more enjoyable while still managing to be productive. 

“Everyone is fun,” Cole said. “It’s not distracting to us because we know how to manage our time so that we do our work, and then we mess around. Nobody there is making sure everything is cracked down on. Everybody understands that we’re going to help each other out to get stuff done.”

Working at Sentinel Pointe has brought Cole comedic relief while working, but more so, it has brought him such a learning experience that he will apply to all aspects of life after high school.

Although he is unsure of what exactly his future holds, he is confident in saying that he has learned a variety of skills not only in the business realm but the social realm as well. He appreciates how every resident, along with his co-workers, has given him varying senses of outlooks on living. 

“I learned a lot about how a business like that runs,” Cole said, “in the sense that there are different facets of it that have to work together or else stuff is going to fall behind. There are so many different viewpoints on life, so it’s kind of interesting to get that huge range of perspectives.”