They weren't the usual customers at Scorpy's Cafe.

The restaurant, located on the campus of Hesperia High School, is actually a classroom for Scorpions learning restaurant and cooking skills in one of the school's Regional Occupational Programs.

Normally, it serves lunch to faculty and staff, but on Tuesday, its customers were 17 of the best and brightest seniors, ranked by Grade Point Average.

"Hi, Mr. Porras!" one girl called out from her seat as Porras arrived, in time for fourth period, lunch section A.

"Hi, we're all here," he said, taking a chair in the middle of the horseshoe-shaped table. "This is great that we're doing this. About half of you, I know, the other half, I don't know."

And that was the whole purpose for the lunch.

"As you move into administration [as a teacher]," he said, "It's easy to forget why you're in this business. It's working with kids like you that got us all into education to begin with."

With that, Porras went around the room, shaking hands with each of the students, who included Associated Student Body members, athletes, drama club members, musicians and more. Each one of the students, in addition to their exceptional grades, was involved in three or more extracurricular activities.

"Nice to meet you," Porras said at one stop. "Where are you going to school?"

"UCLA," replied Jonathan Godinho.

"UCLA," beamed Porras, a Bruin alumnus himself. "Let me know if I can help."

Lunch consisted of a salad bar, chicken or vegetable soup and spaghetti with meat sauce or chicken alfredo, each prepared by ROP students.

"We spend all our time with the low-performing kids," Porras said as the students ravaged the salad bar. "I want to spend at least a fraction of the time with these kids. ... We're so big, you know. I just can't let a top kid here graduate after being here four years without meeting them."

The students invited to the lunch included Khasarah Aflleje, Iovanni Aguirre, Haleigh Auck, Reid Coultas, Elizabeth Foster, Jonathan Godinho, Analina Gonzalez, Frank Gutierrez, Kathryn Haley, Nora Hunter, Danielle Kershner, Zoya Khosravi, Alma Lopez, Danna Maylath-Zhang, Anthony Sheldon, William West and Jorge Zavala.

"I love the position you're in," Porras told the students. "The sky's the limit. The only thing I'd recommend is have a goal and stick with it."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.