- Associated Press - Monday, January 20, 2014

CHEROKEE, Kan. (AP) - Students at a Kansas high school are hawking java to their teachers and classmates and learning business skills in the process.

A coffee shop that opened this month at Southeast High School in Cherokee is an extension of an existing student-operated shop, The Morning Sun in Pittsburg reports (http://bit.ly/KjdHWy ). Called the Spirit Shack, the shop carries school gear, iPad chargers, vending machine treats and other products.

Senior Kelsey Dietz says students became interested in selling coffee after another school talked about their coffee shop program during a state conference. Southeast High School students toured other student-run coffee shops before opening theirs.

Students said the first few days of being in business were hectic, but much more successful than they would have imagined.

“There might have been a rise in energy level in the school, because we had an administrator tell us to slow it down,” said senior Nicholas Junior-Galindo.

Students quickly found out that students were only one part of their market.

“We had teachers lined up at the door before we opened,” Junior-Galindo said, adding that some teachers come into the shop as often as four times a day.

The process of getting the shop running also was a learning experience, complete with filling out paperwork for the health department and State Fire Marshal’s office.

“We were actually turned down by the fire marshal the first time, due to not enough paperwork,” said teacher Cherie Witt.

A total of 18 students help staff the Lancer Latte coffee bar, including before and after school and during lunch.

The Applied Business Development students are graded for clocking in, clocking out and running reports, as well as taking and delivering orders and other shop needs.

Other classes in the school, such as woodworking, art, technology and family and consumer services, are working on an expansion of the coffee shop space.

Witt said she is proud of her students.

“You don’t have many students who can actually back up their ideas,” Witt said. “As juniors they knew they wanted to leave behind some kind of legacy, so that will be their legacy.”

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Information from: The (Pittsburg, Kan.) Morning Sun, http://www.morningsun.net

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