Montgomery Area High School has added a new Internet cafe, called the PRIDE cafe, for high school and middle school students to enjoy. The cafe gives the students a place to socialize with other students, and provides a unique space for educational purposes.
The superintendent of Montgomery Area School District, Daphne Bowers, spearheaded the efforts for the cafe in the terms of raising the money, and coordinating the building aspect of the cafe, said Denise Liscum, school counselor and advisor for the cafe.
The American Legion Post No. 251 funded a $10,000 grant to Montgomery Area School District, which assisted in the project.
The PRIDE Cafe, built and run by students at Montgomery Area High School, is an educational environment to relax, do homework and socialize during study halls.
Jason Beckley uses his iPad to do homework and relax in the Internet cafe at Montgomery Area High School.
Students in the high school construction classes helped build the cafe facility. A section of the school, that was previously a locker alcove, was torn out, to create space for the cafe. The students also helped do the finishing work.
The cafe is a student driven process. Students take care of the inventory and assist in coming up with new ideas for items to sell in the cafe.
There are nine to 10 student managers that work in the cafe during the day.
Each manager takes a shift during each class period. They will take orders, make drinks, handle money and clean all materials while working their shift.
"When I am in the cafe, I like to serve and talk to people that I normally do not get to see every day," senior Megan Bryson student manager said.
The student managers also help decide what the money, made from the cafe, will be used for in the school.
"What we are trying to do is instill an element of responsibility in our students, and they have really risen to the occasion," said Liscum.
During their study halls, students are able to go to the cafe to work on school projects, read, relax and socialize with friends.
"I enjoy the interaction with the other students," senior Christian Houtz, student manager of cafe, said.
Students are able to purchase many different beverages and snacks at the cafe. Some of the selections include: smoothies, frozen coffee, cappuccino, regular coffee, ice tea, bagels, chips, crackers and other snack items.
"It has a really neat coffee shop feel to it," Liscum said.
Teachers also take the opportunity to use the cafe for educational purposes.
A French teacher recently held a class in the cafe and had the students order their drinks in French, and they practiced using the euro as currency. This allowed the students to use the material they learned in the classroom, in a real world setting while still being in school.
The school also has created a program called Cafe Chat. During this time the school will showcase various careers that students may want to pursue after high school. Professors from different colleges will come in and speak to students about the different programs offered, while the students enjoy a coffee in a relaxed atmosphere.
"I couldn't be more pleased with the way that our students responded to it, said Liscum.