AHS Coffee Shop

Upon arrival at school, a group of students will set up shop, prepare the coffee, and display their sign with the words “Aspen Skiers Cafe” brightly printed across it. This will all take place at the intriguing addition coming to AHS.

A student-led and staffed coffee cafe is currently being created in the teacher’s lounge, partnered with Ink! Coffee, a cafe in Aspen. During first period, teachers can go get their daily dose of coffee before heading to their classes. While students are not being served yet, the organizers of the program hope to see this change soon.

Emily Cackett, a staff member in the work-based learning class at Aspen High School, is leading the new project. The class strives to provide students with alternatives to college or work-based experience to help support them in college. There are many skills that students will learn through the operation of the cafe.

“Skills [that will be acquired] include money management, budgeting, communication, negotiation, task management, problem-solving, networking, delegation, teamwork, and leadership,” Cackett said.

While the cafe is only serving teachers now, the ultimate goal is to grow the program. Proponents hope to see the program expand beyond teachers exclusively as the students gain more experience.

“Ideally, this will become a cafe for both students and teachers. I would also love to see this cafe at each school level,” said Cackett.

Kim Zimmer, the instructional technologist at AHS, has been involved with the technology aspect of the cafe. She hopes to help students gain the skills necessary for business in the 21 century.

“The reason I knew about the coffee cafe is that Emily came to me looking for technology tips and she wanted to know an easy way for the students to keep track of the budget and getting a cash register and what that would be like, and so we did a little bit collaboration at the beginning of this, just trying to figure out what type of technology the students are going to need,” said Zimmer.

A small group of students are going to be running the cafe and will be working with customers. Proponents of the program hope this will build social skills necessary for almost every career.

“I don’t think teachers will be involved whatsoever once the students get working with the equipment,” said Zimmer.

Jack Alter, a junior at AHS, is involved in the process of creating furniture for the cafe. “I am building the two tables that are going to be the main coffee bar. I came up with [the design] all from scratch, and I’m almost done making the first countertop. It will be a bar height, which is a standard 42”, and there will be a custom square table in the back,” said Alter.

Alter thinks the idea of the cafe is very smart. He is happy to be involved in the process.

“It will be a chance for teachers to get a break, and students will be running it, so that’s cool for them to do.”

The cafe is through the work-based learning program and is in the beginning stages. Students and teachers throughout the district will get to see this exciting small business grow and develop.