In April of last year, the Transition from School to Work (TSW) students and teachers began a program known as the Eagle Grind, which provides coffee for teachers every week. The program was a success from the beginning, and has grown much since then.
The TSW class is a class tailored to seniors who need extra help deciding what career path they want to take. The teachers and students work collaboratively to tackle traditionally adult things, like doing taxes and creating resumes. The students even have the opportunity to intern or shadow at a job they are interested in. Amongst the many wonderful things the TSW program entails, is the Eagle Grind coffee cart.
“The Eagle Grind is getting work experience for students so that they can get a job and have some experience in that area. It is also to provide for the teachers a little treat during the day because everyone needs coffee,” said Allison Caylor, TSW teacher.
Last year, teachers were limited to ordering coffee but now, Eagle Grind has expanded. With more options and more teachers interested, the program is able to cater to a larger portion of OHS teachers.
“We just started tea this year, so it is iced tea. We provide a botanical fruit and green tea,” Caylor said.
Along with a tea option, the Eagle Grind has added an exciting and innovative “bring your own cup” option.
“We also do a green option. It is the best value. Teachers can come and bring their own cups and we will fill them up. It is better for the environment,” Caylor said.
None of this would be possible without the help of Elevate Coffee. Their proximity makes delivering fresh and rich coffee painless.
“They [Elevate Coffee] reached out to us. They wanted to give back to the school since we were so close to them,” Caylor said. “They heard we were opening a coffee cart, and they offered to work with us and provide coffee for that. They have been amazing through that.”
The students don’t take part in preparing the actual coffee, but they are fully responsible for delivering it and handling all of the finances.
“Elevate donates the coffee and tea to us. Then we charge so that our kids can have the life skills of counting money and doing the stamp cards and filling orders, so that they can put that on their resume for a job. When we come back with the money after it is all counted, we give it to the school. It goes into the Stugo account. They donate the coffee, we do the work, and the money goes back to the school,” said Renee Manley-Medic, TSW Technician.
While on the surface this program may just seem like a great way to get coffee to teachers, it means so much more for the students involved. The skills taught and used in this program are essential for life after high school because they are given real work experience.
“The students, they really enjoy being a part of the process. Some kids are writing orders, some kids are filling orders, some kids are delivering the coffee and taking the money. And they are learning social skills and being polite,” said Gina Hoppenworth, TSW Teaching Assistant.
For the students involved, being able to interact with teachers all across campus is really special. They get to meet various teachers and cement unique relationships with them.
“My favorite part about it is seeing the teachers happy to get their coffee. It’s amazing to see them smiling. It makes you feel good. It is a nice way to see the other teachers here at OHS and see what they do,” said Ronald Alexander, senior.
The Eagle Grind has become a program that all teachers can look forward to. This small business is quickly growing into a large organization due to its dedicated members that are always looking for new ways to better the program.
“In the future, I would love to see more staff participating. Maybe we could do something that involves the whole student body, where it’s not just available to teachers, but it is available to students as well. Maybe we could offer a variety of products, like hot chocolate in the winter time, or bagels and pastries,” Hoppenworth said.