COLUMBIANA - Students at the Columbiana High School are proving their business savvy with a newly created Clipper Cafe operated by the Intro to Business class.
The cafe was originally created about a year ago, but was only available in the morning and was for the purpose of raising money for needy families in the area in December for the holiday. It raised $500 in two weeks.
High School Principal Lance Hostetler said teacher Trisha Misos believed the school could expand on that idea and teach students how to be involved in a "real-world" business.
Students not only showed an interest, but dove head-first into the cafe with such a passion its success blossomed so quickly there isn't even enough room in the lounge area to accommodate them on some days.
The cafe/lounge area is available to students during any study hall in the first four periods. They can also stop by to pick up orders at any time without staying. The lounge is limited to 20 students at a time, according to the cafe's website, which was created over four weeks by student Noah Dain.
Information can be found at sites.google.com/a/clips.columbianaschools.org/clippercafe.
The cafe is also on Twitter.
Student Allie Rohr, who is in charge of the cafe's marketing, said they conducted a survey of 150 students before opening to see what they would be interested in purchasing. The cafe offers smoothies, hot and iced coffees, mochas, tea, hot chocolate, milkshakes, and other beverages, with the average price around $3.
The lounge features couches provided by Misos and only recently TVs were installed so students could watch the weather, Good Morning America, or NCAA tournaments while they relax between classes.
"Students are able to come in during a study hall and utilize their time wisely by studying or completing homework. The cafe gives a more relaxed atmosphere for the student body," Rohr said.
Middle school students on good behavior can also take advantage of the cafe, she said.
Weekly sales have been high and the class is hoping to take a trip to Cedar Point to participate in their business program. The ultimate goal is a scholarship program, Rohr and Dain said.
Hostetler said the cafe has led to other possible expansions as well, and the school is in the process of talking to Eastern Gateway Community College about expanding its dual credit offerings, with classes like Business 101 and Computer Application.
"These classes will give our kids a chance to earn college credit while in the hallways of Columbiana, and focusing on business," he said.
The school is also looking into developing classes like mobile app and video game design, he added.
Superintendent Don Mook said the mobile app design class will have the opportunity to have an industry standard certificate, and will be a facilitated online course geared toward seniors first, juniors, second and then lower grades.
Mook is encouraging the district to provide more dual credit opportunities so students can remain on campus while preparing for college. Part of that plan includes partnering with Eastern Gateway and other higher education learning.
"We see a big advantage of getting our kids - regardless of where they are going in the next step after high school - getting them involved in some of these types of programs," he said.
"The kids are into this class ... it's been really awakening for me as a principal to see what we can do in our classroom," Hostetler said.
Rohr said the cafe has been a "really great experience" for the students overall.