High school plans to open coffee shop next year


Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons License.

Katie Savage and Brianna Rodriguez

Students who make an early run to Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks each day might be able to get their coffee and baked goods here at school next year.

As part of a growing movement in education to provide students with real-world experience, the high school is tentatively planning to open a student-run coffee shop next fall. It would be located in Room 237 near the south cafeteria, which will be available because the Purbalite has decided to move out of that room and into the English computer lab in Room 319.

Business and computer information teacher Michelle Kilburn has been participating in the planning. She said she hopes to help expand the Partners program, which already has proven successful in physical education and music classes, with this coffee shop.

“The students will learn in a fun way, and it’s different because (the coffee shop) is something that we have never had at Baldwin before,” Kilburn said.

Special education teacher Josh Stahl said that tentative plans for the shop would have it open from 7:20 to 7:40 a.m., selling coffee and pastries to students and staff alike.

“We want the coffee shop to have chairs so students can sit back, relax, put in their headphones, and kick their feet up,” Stahl said.

The coffee shop would offer an alternative to students who drive to school and stop at the big coffee chains, and it would allow students who don’t drive to get coffee and pastries here at school.

“We realized that countless students are coming to school with a cup of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks. So why not offer those quality products here?” Kilburn said.

Students enrolled in the district’s vocational internship program would work in the coffee shop to build their skills and to give them a better understanding of what it will be like to have a job in the real world, Kilburn said. Additionally, students who take courses such as Intro to Business, Entrepreneurship, or Accounting will help in the shop’s development and operation, with the idea that they would add finance, marketing, customer service, and business planning as part of their course work.

Assistant Principal Rachel Sprouse said she was excited about the participation of students from the vocational internship program in the coffee shop.

“In past years, vocational internship students have been sent to other locations for work experience, but with this project we are hoping to provide the same kind of experience in a familiar place,” Sprouse said.

Another group of students also could be getting some real-world experience through this project: Students from the interior and graphic design classes are expected to be in charge of designing and decorating the coffee shop.

Stahl said the staff is trying to organize additional chances for students to participate in the creation of the shop.

“We hope to have a naming contest, a design layout of the room, a symbol contest, some fundraising opportunities, and hopefully a taste test in the atrium to see what students like,” Stahl said.

Due to federal regulations, all food and drink sold to students in the coffee shop will have to meet the federal regulations under The National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs.

“We still have to work through the details of the new operation,” Food Service Director Joyce Weber said in an email.

Some students said they were excited about the plan, while others had questions.

“If the coffee is as good as these big-brand coffee vendors, I don’t see why students wouldn’t participate. But I doubt it can compete with places like Dunkin’, ” senior Tijana Mrkalj said.

“I don’t know if teens should drink coffee on a daily basis, but it’s a good treat once in a while,” sophomore Gemma Gurcak said.

Sophomore Ben McKee a devoted coffee drinker, has high hopes for the coffee shop.

“I would buy the school coffee because it would be hotter when I get to school,” McKee said.