Starting on May 10, Cafe 116 plans to open up to every student and every teacher in the high school to allow them to purchase drinks and snacks during the school day. This allows for the student body to grow closer to the individuals located in room 116, along with them getting a quick treat before heading off to their next class.
Cafe 116 is a coffee shop that special education teacher April English established in the high school in March of 2020 right before the shutdown due to COVID-19. The shop is run completely by students, along with the help of English and Ms. Gonzales. These students are required to make and serve the treats to the individuals in the high school.
The inspiration behind Cafe 116 was from a cafe located in North Carolina. English visited a coffee shop while on her trip to North Carolina and noticed it was run by individuals with intellectual disabilities. Instantly, she began to process an idea to bring back this opportunity to her students back in high school. From there, Cafe 116 was created and it allowed for the individuals in room 116 to grow their communications skills and teach them how to take pride in their work while serving it to the school community.
“This cafe allows students to interact with our students in this classroom. I think it will be a great social experience and be a lot of fun for our kids,” Gonzales said.
Before the shutdown last March, the cafe was only open to teachers and staff members at the high school. Every week a Google Form was sent out to the staff which allowed them to complete the survey to order the drinks and snacks they wanted. With the new opening of Cafe 116, not only will the staff be able to order from the cafe, but now the students will be able to order as well.
Beginning with only a Google Form, this cafe has grown a lot in the past year. While the students were completely virtual during the majority school year, the construction of Cafe 116 began. While most of it has been unseen from the student body, the students in room 116 have been ecstatic for the opening since the news was brought to their attention.
The cafe sits in between the guidance office and room 116. What used to be a trophy and award case is now used as a sliding window.
Opening day to the entire student body and staff is planned for May 10. The cafe will be open Monday through Friday during first, second and third block, along with Personalized learning time (PLT). With only accepting cash as a payment method, the cafe plans to have many different options to choose from. From cappuccinos, to iced and regular coffee, to even water and gum. The cafe has a lot to offer and the students are eager for the opening.
By using the hashtag, #coffeewithacause, the whole Cafe 116 staff is reaching out to make an impact from not only the individuals in the class, but the whole school community and are excited to get to work.
“Some heroes wear capes, some make your coffee…Can’t wait to be your heroes!” the Cafe 116 staff said on a flyer posted in front of room 116.