Tiger Den offers tasty treats as well as work experiences

Starting back in 2015, the Tiger Den sets up coffee, lemonade, slushies and other snacks for students who skipped out on the most important meal. 

The Tiger Den is a vocational job site for students to learn job and social skills in a real-world setting at school.  Students prepare and serve various drinks and healthy food choices. It’s a place where the student body can come together to learn communication, organization, computer/technology, problem-solving skills, leadership, time management and professional skills. The coffee shop is open daily in the Tiger Den. 

Originating as a project in English, teacher Matthew Klemesrud created an assignment asking students to come up with ways to make the school a better place. After taking a vote, students decided to initiate a local coffee shop. Commencing March of 2015, the coffee shop has been open since, excluding last year due to COVID. 

One aspect of the coffee shop is how the students are the ones working behind the counter. Senior Madeline Hoelscher runs the register during first period. “I feel like I just wanted to help people in the mornings and get another elective credit this year,” Hoelscher said. 

Hoelescher said that during her shift, she is responsible for cleaning the tables, delivering orders to classrooms, making orders and running the cash register. “We have punch cards for students who want to pre pay their orders. If somebody buys a punch card, it depends on what kind you buy, the regular ones have 25 cents per punch, or you could get a drink card, which is just a punch after you buy one drink,” she said. 

Working the Tigers Den every morning has led Hoelscher and other workers to obtain relationships with the regulars. One student who purchases from the coffee shop daily constructed her own personal order. Some workers have started to call it the “Kylie Drink.” 

Junior Kylie Ryen said she goes to the Tiger Den every day, at least twice. Typically first period and before second, to get a refill. “Usually I get the three coffees. Emily mixes the hot chocolate, and then the French vanilla mocha and the caramel mocha, but I’ve been adding strawberries to it recently,” Ryen said. Ryen said she likes getting food from the coffee shop because it’s inexpensive. 

Due to the fact that the prices are so low, there is not a large profit being made. “The goal is just to give people work experience and work on social skills, so we don’t make a whole lot of money, but we do donate to school clubs. Last year it was around $13,000 to the school just from us,” organizer Katie Walsworth said. 

The coffee shop is only open before school until the end of fourth period. “We’re the busiest before school starts, so we try and get students who work first period to come in before school, but if not, we’ll typically try and find someone to work before school,” Walsworth said. 

The Tiger Den is looking for student workers to help out in the coffee shop. “We’re looking for students who are good with attendance and who maybe haven’t had a job yet or are nervous about greeting customers. It’s an elective work experience,” Walsworth said.

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