When teachers and staff walk into the mailroom at Ocoee High School early on weekday mornings, they are greeted by students who are eager to brighten their day — one cup of coffee at a time.
Special-needs teacher Olajumoke Adebimpe operates the Jump Start Café! with some of her students, who are all juniors. They take turns working at the table, where they sell cups of hot coffee, tea or cocoa for $1. The students are assisted by either a teacher or a job coach.
The program is called CBVE – Community-Based Vocational Education. Participants are Austin Fitzgerald, Natalia Barriga-Sanchez, Reuben Udokwu, Jasmine Hernandez, Carene Hillary, Teairra Adams, Jonathan Gaillard, Suellen Dos Santos, Sarah Paupaw and Alex Job.
Ocoee High Principal Laura Beusse came up with the idea to set up a coffee station for teachers and staff. Adebimpe jumped at the opportunity to introduce new skills to her students, who are in the special-needs program and take a class centered on career preparation and education.
“They develop money skills, learning skills, socialization skills, independent skills, customer service skills, and sorting and organizing,” she said.
Adebimpe is thrilled to be part of this positive program, and she is proud of her students’ achievements. And the coffee stand has been a popular addition to the campus.
When the students in charge for the day arrive, they don a black apron and put on serving gloves. They are ready to take orders, serve the beverage, collect the money, make the appropriate change, clean up with coffee station after each day’s sales, count the money and take it to the bookkeeper and balance the checkbook.
Many of the teachers and staff have opted to purchase Jump Start Café! punch cards, which are $10 for 12 cups or $20 for 25 cups.
Adebimpe said the proceeds of the coffee, tea and cocoa sales will be used to support the special-needs students in their end-of-the-year graduation ceremony.
The juniors aren’t the only students who are learning necessary job skills and customer service skills. Adebimpe said her seniors go off campus for their jobs at Party City. On occasion, one will fill in at the coffee station when needed.
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.