Tiger Den serving up lessons for team of student workers

Brad Elemr watches carefully as he fills up a fresh cup of coffee with a steady hand during his shift in the Tiger Den’s Coffee Shop. (Mackenzie Dallenbach photo)

Brad Elemr watches carefully as he fills up a fresh cup of coffee with a steady hand during his shift in the Tiger Den’s Coffee Shop. (Mackenzie Dallenbach photo)

With the Coffee Shop open for business, it offers not only drinks and food for students and staff but also a chance to gain some skills and learn something new for its 11 volunteer workers.

This year these 11 students are checking out of study hall. Next year it will be for a careers class credit that students sign up for, according to resource teacher Bridget Bukula. “The class next year will combine the coffee shop with curriculum to address employability skills.”

CFHS junior Robert Novak is one of those pitching in to help, and he said, “There are things and perks [to take away]. I get to meet new people and its great friends making thing and more social skills. It improves my social abilities and skills. I’m sometimes kind of shy.”

However, it’s not just social skills being taken from this experience; responsibility and understanding how things work and mix together are two other major things the students are taking away from their experiences.

Besides preparing and selling coffee and other drinks every day, students must also make sure that everything is always clean, that the counters are wiped down, coffee containers are refilled and the cash box is deposited and put back. Some students regularly deliver coffee to teachers and staff members throughout the morning, and some open the shop every day at 7:30 or close the shop right after third hour.

Novak, like the other 10 students and workers, takes his job very seriously, but has had some previous experience helping and serving customers. “I worked at Hy-Vee before this, so it’s the same principle, and it’s the same thing helping customers out with a smile on your face. Just be positive and smile.”

Bukula added that through all of these responsibilities and jobs the “students learn customer service, have gained confidence, how to better interact with peers, money skills, a sense of belonging, employability skills and it’s fun.”

 

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