HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local high school annex is being converted for a new purpose. It will help dozens of students with intellectual disabilities learn to become independent.

The annex also has a new name which serves as a tribute to a valued district employee.

“We’re going to learn so many skills that are going to be beneficial through our entire life,” said Nathan Barrett, superintendent of the Hanover Area School District.

These Hanover Area High School life skills students will learn those skills at the district’s new independent living program center.

The building will soon feature furnishings that typically fill a regular home, it will help students like Erodith Mejia Jaime hone their domestic skills.

“I’m just excited to work here,” stated Jaime.

“They’re going to be able to set the table. They’re going to be able to make a bed, arrange their furniture, be able to clean. The basic skills of cleaning. Washing dishes. And there’s laundry in there,” explained Barrett.

“And they get so much more out of it when they actually get to do the activities so now with this building we’ll have the opportunity to do those things more often,” added life skills teacher Kim Franks.

The only lingering question was what to call the center. That was settled Tuesday night at the school board meeting.

“We couldn’t see anybody else this being named after,” stated Barrett.

It’s now called Lisa’s Kitchen.

“It was a total surprise. I can’t explain to you what it means to me,” said honoree Lisa Kitchen.

Lisa Kitchen is her real name and Barrett says she works really hard as his administrative assistant. But after three decades as a diligent district employee, her working days will be done by the end of the year.

While her career may be coming to a close, her legacy will continue long after her retirement thanks to this honor.

“It feels surreal to me. It really does. It still has not sunk in,” described Kitchen.

As she grasps for just the right words to sum up such an honor, Kitchen makes one thing crystal clear.

“I just want to say thank you to everybody at Hanover Area. It’s been a pleasure to work here and I’m truly going to miss it,” said Kitchen.

Lisa’s kitchen should be fully furnished and ready for students in January.

Kitchen says she hopes to spend time with the life skills students and help them learn to cook and clean.