Topeka West students learn new skills through coffee shop

Education 21st Century

Students and staff at Topeka West High School don’t have to go far to get their coffee fix. 

The school has its own student-run coffee shop, Java West, on campus. 

“We’ve partnered with PT’s Coffee,” said Dick. “They help come out and set-up the coffee shop, they train our students on all the equipment and everything they need to do to be able to [run the coffee shop].” 

The coffee shop is open from 7 a.m. unitl 7:45 a.m. before school. It’s also open during special events like parent-teacher confrences and sporting events. 

Students work at the shop as part of a class.

“We struggle a little bit to get students that are eager to be up here at 7 in the morning to open the coffee shop,” said Dick. 

Depsite the early start time, students Maryanna Benson and Jordan Pence said they learned a lot from their time working the shop. 

Pence said while the 7 a.m. start time was draining, it helped to make her more routined, and prepared her for the workforce. 

Both Pence and Benson said that it also got them out of their comfort zones and interacting with people they may not have talked to otherwise. 

“I was shy at first,” said Benson. “But the coffee shop opens you up to other people.”

“It’s nice because you’re being social,” said Pence. “You’re not on your phone texting and you’re actually able to speak to somebody instead of using emjois.”

Dick said the students also learn business and entreprenural skills. 

The coffee shop is profitable. The profits go back to stocking the inventory and Dick said some of the funds are given back to the school. 

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