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2-22-24 — South Business Students Launch In-School Coffee Shop

Feb. 22, 2023 ~ On Wednesday, the Business Finance Academy at Olathe South High School officially launched Falcon Brew, their own student-led coffee shop. The shop is open from 7:15-7:55 a.m. every day except for Thursday. Stop by and help the Falcons start their day right!

“What you’re going to see is a group of students who have come together to create a coffee shop that rivals every major company in the area,” Olathe South Principal Dr. Sean DeMaree said. “I am really proud of the students who run the show, from the beans that we use to the coffee we make to the cleanup after each shift.”

Kristen Bell, the Business Finance Academy facilitator at Olathe South, oversees the shop and the group of students who run it. Her role is simply to advise, as the students get to work on their food industry knowledge, customer service and crafted recipes. Students’ roles can include everything from taking a customer’s order to operating social media. Even the coffee grounds are given to the horticulture program for their own studies. Falcon Brew also uses compostable paper and compostable plastic products to lessen the impact on the environment.

“This ribbon-cutting celebration is really a coronation event for our hard work,” Bell said. “These kids have done everything from selecting the bean we are brewing, to building the recipes, to providing social media promotions, to serving coffee with a smile.”

Students started the dreaming and planning process for Falcon Brew last year when they expressed their desire to start a coffee shop. The students were primarily seniors, but once their proposal was approved, the juniors were asked to carry the vision forward. Bennett Williams, a current senior in the Business Finance Academy and founding member of Falcon Brew, jumped to the task and now serves as an assistant manager, helping with scheduling employees and offering leadership while on shifts.

“We’ve learned a lot of real-world skills in the coffee shop, and it’s been very helpful to me as a person,” Williams said. “I love all my colleagues, and it’s a very fun experience to just come here every day and work.”

Once the plan came together, it was time to put it into action with the help of community partners. Vania Gladney, a member of the Olathe South Site Council, got in contact with Dr. DeMaree about creating the best high school experience for her child. Gladney and her husband, Michael, own Comic Coffeehouse in Olathe, and when it was brought to her attention that students planned to open a coffee shop at school, she was happy to lend a helping hand. Both Vania and Michael have offered on-site training, shared their entrepreneurial journey and have built vendor relationships for Olathe South.

“I connected with Mrs. Bell, and it kind of turned into this amazing adventure of watching the students build this business from the ground up. They are very resilient,” Gladney said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more impressed by a group of students accomplishing something than I have with these kids.”

This month is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and this is just one example of our CTE students going above and beyond in Olathe Public Schools!

#CTEMonth #OPSForwardTogether