Trinity Stultz has the recipe down pat: Mix the milk and cream, pour coffee in a cup and pour the froth on top. To the 14-year-old Ponderosa High School student, making the coffee is the easy part. …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution of $25 or more in Nov. 2018-2019, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access Includes access to all websites
Trinity Stultz has the recipe down pat: Mix the milk and cream, pour coffee in a cup and pour the froth on top.
To the 14-year-old Ponderosa High School student, making the coffee is the easy part. It’s not until the early morning rush when things start to get a little difficult.
Stultz is one of 14 Ponderosa special needs students who helps run the school’s newest attraction — The Stable, a small coffee shop run out of the school’s cafeteria. The shop opened Jan. 14 and has already helped students involved in the Significant Support Needs program to learn job skills to serve them after they graduate.
Stultz’s favorite part is working the cash register because she likes handling the money.
“I really like working here because it’s a fun place and I really enjoy it,” Stultz said.
The Stable is one way teachers at Ponderosa are trying to prepare their students for life after high school. Alli Fabrizio, the SSN teacher in charge of the Stable, said many of the students will immediately enter the workforce upon graduation, and the coffee shop serves as a transition into working full-time.
“Our focus for this year was on relevance,” said Ponderosa Principal Tim Ottmann. “It fit perfectly because there’s nothing more relevant than actually doing a job. It’s a great example to other departments that we want to give something to kids they can actually use after high school.”
Fabrizio said she hopes to eventually implement a concession cart for winter sports.
Rock Canyon, Castle View and Chaparral high schools have already come to Ponderosa looking to install a similar program in their schools.
The shop is tied into Fabrizio’s Life Skills Math and Life Skills Science courses. The Stable is open during one 90-minute period a day. Two SSN students will work 45-minute shifts, half of one class period, along with an adult supervisor and a peer intern. The students working the shop are paid in “Monopoly money,” Fabrizio said, and can save up money to earn prizes like gift cards. Thirty percent of the money goes to charity and the rest goes to operational costs and back to the school.
Fabrizio came up with the idea when she started at Ponderosa in 2016. Former students of hers continued having trouble transitioning into the workforce after high school. Currently most of Fabrizio’s students enter the Douglas County School District Bridge Program, a program designed to help students build independence in life after high school.
“I hate hearing that previous students are struggling,” Fabrizio said. “The Bridge Program…is phenomenal what they offer, and I want my kids to go in there with more confidence than what I’m hearing. I was hoping this could help bridge that gap.”
Fabrizio said that the shop has already been a hit among students on both sides of the counter. For $3, the students can buy a latte on their way to class. One volunteer supervisor said it’s better than Starbucks.
Stultz said she likes being able to make friends with her co-workers and the students frequenting the shop — even if it does get hectic when students line up out the door.
“It’s been a learning curve, talking them through everything and the steps,” Fabrizio said. “We’re trying to make it concrete for them, so that when they eventually get used to it, it’s like riding a bike. But for now we’re still with training wheels.”
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.