Morning Pick-Me-Up


Carson Hess, Natalee Still, Caroline True

Westside Perk is the source of a good cup of coffee and a kickstart for a lot of Titan’s day. 

During first hour every morning, students from the Life Skills classes serve the hot brew or a cup of hot Cocoa or tea. The purpose is to “introduce the kids to working and responsibility, and dealing with customers,” paraprofessional Susie Rickel said. 

Westside Perk began three years ago, selling the morning warm-up for $1. The money they make is used to buy more coffee cart supplies, personal class projects, and sometimes pizza for class celebrations, Rickel said.

Going out to all the classes to deliver the coffee allows the students to see people they normally would not get to see in the day, Rickel said. She said it teaches them how to work well with others, “but it’s also a lot of responsibility” following directions and practicing safety measures as they are dealing with hot liquids. 

The coffee cart has a regular route and knows to stop when there is a tag in front of their door that says “Westside Perk.” Teachers are sent an email to see if they want to have the coffee cart stop at their room. There is also an option of buying a $20 punch card in advance, so teachers can get 20 drinks instead of paying individually each day, she said. 

Meagan Chapman, business teacher, said the life skills students who run the coffee cart make a stop by her room every morning. She said they ask if anyone wants to buy coffee or tea, and it gives them the opportunity to show their faces and build relationships with the students in her class. 

Even if her students don’t buy coffee, she said, “just that interaction of being able to say ‘hi’ has just grown into a whole experience for them.”