Evan Thompson / The Record — Langley Middle School students in Jack Terhar’s current events class took part in a class project and letter writing campaign to advocate that Dick’s Drive-In build their newest restaurant on South Whidbey. From left to right: Jacob Freels, Maalik Heino, Kaia Swegler Richmond and Felicity Watson.

LMS students aim to bring famed burger joint to Whidbey

Dick’s Drive-In may not be coming to South Whidbey anytime soon, but 19 Langley Middle School students have provided the chain restaurant with plenty of reasons to set up shop in the future.

In early March, the notorious Seattle-based burger franchise sought public input on where its seventh and newest restaurant would be located. Eighth-grade students in Jack Terhar’s current events class attempted to woo the company to build it on South Whidbey with a letter writing campaign. They argued that the drive-in was a potential business mecca if it set up shop near the Clinton Ferry Terminal, while others said that South Whidbey was in need of another fast food joint and that its addition could bring more tourists to the South End.

On Monday, however, it was announced that the newest restaurant will be located south of Seattle in 2018, though a specific city has not been selected. The students were well aware that the chances of Dick’s Drive-In coming to South Whidbey were slim to improbable at best. They took it as both a challenge and a way to have fun.

“We just did it for fun and the experience,” Kaia Swegler Richmond said.

The students also discussed whether people on South Whidbey would support or resist bringing a new fast food restaurant to the area that could possibly steal business from local restaurants.

“It depends on your stance, whether or not South Whidbey should be modernized and if you want to change it up a little bit,” Jacob Freels said. “It would be a little bit better for the island. You get all those benefits. Kids like us…we like fast food.”

In the end, they thought the effort was worth the reward. When asked if they would visit the drive-in on a regular basis, the class responded with a resounding, “Yes.” They were also inspired by the opportunity to make a change with their surroundings.

“It’s cool to think that people as young as us could shape the future that the island has and that young people have influence on the future of Earth,” Sterling Patton said. “That starts here.”