Student-run beverage service debuts at MHS
Special education social studies teacher, Todd Skelton, purchases coffee from one of his students, Paige Kyle (junior), as her and other special education students sell coffee at the MHS Drink Oasis, at Mundelein High School, on Friday, February 10, 2012.
Updated: March 17, 2012 8:11AM
Students in the Supportive Learning Program at Mundelein High School are learning what it’s like to run a business with the opening of a new student-run concession area, the MHS Drink Oasis.
During its first operation Friday, students brewed hot coffee they sold to teachers, took cash and made change. They even made deliveries to teachers in classrooms upon request.
Special education teachers Maureen Baker, Heather Ryan and Morgan Spitz, who run the Supportive Learning Program for children with special needs, said the new student-run business prepares students for life beyond high school.
“It teaches them job skills, it enhances their money and counting skills, and it enhances their ability to get a job after high school,” said Baker.
Ryan said the school concession stand provides the students with hands-on experience of what it’s like to run a business and work in the food service industry.
“A career in food service is definitely an option for many of these students so giving them this training gives them a head start in this field,” she said.
The MHS Drink Oasis is located in the trophy case lobby, just outside of the main gym at the high school and will be open on selected Fridays throughout the school year. It will open for students on Feb. 24, serving smoothies, shakes and hot chocolate.
The concession area proved quite popular during its first day of operation on Friday. In the first hour, students sold about 80 cups of coffee to teachers and raised more than $100 that morning.
“We didn’t realize demand was going to be this high,” said Spitz, noting they will probably have to buy a second coffee urn.
Spitz thinks the kids enjoyed the experience.
“I think they were a little nervous the first day. I think some were very excited, depending on their personalities. A lot of them have speech and language needs and they’re a little bit shy. This helps them to come out of their shell,” she said.
Cameron Couvillier, 18, of Mundelein, said he likes being part of the student-run business and his favorite part is making the coffee.
“I’m glad to help out in any way I can,” he said.
Another student Sammie Woytus, 17, of Mundelein said she learned a lot during her first day and particularly liked delivering coffee to teachers in the classrooms.
“It’s a great opportunity for the teachers to have a good cup of coffee on a cold day,” she said.
The students began purchasing coffee and other supplies for the business in January. They also purchased aprons and ironed on lettering and a logo during class.
The MHS Drink Oasis was made possible by a $500 grant from the Community Education Alumni Foundation, an organization of MHS alumni and local business people that support school programs. The Starbucks store in Mundelein also donated cups and trays. The MHS Boosters is allowing the students to use its concession area in the school. Money raised from the program will be used to purchase future supplies.