Creation Cafe highlights Leechburg Area life skills students | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Creation Cafe highlights Leechburg Area life skills students

Joyce Hanz
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Leechburg Area High School Life Skills students Jordan Mills and Olivia Smythe prepare hot chocolate for a customer Friday at Creation Cafe, a new café available to middle and high school students on campus operated by learning support students.
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Leechburg Area High School Life Skills students report for several hours during school to operate the Creation Cafe. The students are learning hands-on real life skills, cooking hotdogs, pizza, cookies and more. Futute plans include a schoolwide snack delivery program. In the front row, left to right, are Vinny Beavers (seated), Olivia Smythe, Jordan Mills, Emily Baker and Anthony McFadden. In the back row are Alize Cleveland and Brian Talarico.
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Leechburg Area School District Life Skills class student Emily Baker readies pizza for a customer at Creation Cafe, a new student run cafe that is located in the school library.
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Leechburg Area High School ninth-graders Hannah Pugh and Adeline Remaley visited the new Creation Cafe during their study hall period. The cafe is operated by Life Skills students and is located in the library.
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Leechburg Area High School seniors Connor McDermott, Gracie Reinke and Brenna Callahan relax in between their classes at Creation Cafe, a new student operated cafe on campus.
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Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Leechburg Area High School students relax during a study hall break in the Creation Cafe, a new student run cafe located in the library. Proceeds from the cafe will pay for more equipment and help fund field trips for learning support and life skills students.

Students and snacks have combined at Leechburg Area High School for a cause.

The Creation Cafe opened Sept. 3 in the school library.

The space was specifically designed to house a cafe and provide a unique learning opportunity for students enrolled in life skills/learning support classes in the district.

The cafe offers a variety of hot foods and drinks such as pizza, hot dogs, popcorn, coffee and hot chocolate to students and staff in grades 6-12.

The cafe is staffed by students from teacher Mark Jones’ life skills and learning support class.

“The Creation Cafe was designed with our life skills program in mind,” said Superintendent Tiffany Nix. “Our life skills students and staff run the cafe program from top to bottom, which includes inventory, preparation, cleanup and accounting.”

Jones said the cafe serves two needs: providing real-life hands-on skills for students and raising monies for class field trips, supplies and equipment.

Seventh-grader Nicali Stango recently visited the Creation Cafe for a second time, ordering popcorn.

“It’s easier for me to learn when I’m not hungry,” he said.

The cafe is open during school days from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and noon until 2 p.m. Jones said all middle and high school students are invited to visit the cafe during study halls.

The cafe offers couches, tables and chairs for lounging, eating, socializing and doing school work.

Snack prices range from 25 cents to $1.50.

Fifteen students operate the cafe, all receiving a grade for work study and math, Jones said.

Life skills student and cafe worker Jordan Mills said she is enjoying her new job.

“Sometimes it can get really busy, but it’s fun and I like cooking. They eat the food, and they have a smile on their face,” Mills said.

Students from teacher Michelle Ferretti’s learning support math class handle the daily finances at the end of each business day.

“Students are responsible for counting the drawer and tallying the sales daily, and on Fridays they prepare the weekly deposit by counting the money from the week,” Ferretti says.

The freshly baked chocolate chip cookies are a top seller, available for 25 cents each.

“We sell about 80 cookies a day,” Jones said. “Students are loving the fact that they can get real food during their breaks and study hall.”

Senior Gracie Reinke said she is a frequent cafe customer.

“It’s nice because when you don’t have time to eat breakfast, you can come in during first period and get food,” Reinke said.

For Nix, the cafe is a welcome addition to campus.

“It also provides a delicious service to our students and staff. I’m a frequent customer. I’m very proud of Mr. Jones, his support staff and our students. They have taken a simple concept and grown it to be a wonderful resource for our school community,” Nix said.

Plans include opening the cafe during hours when the library is open to the public.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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