Class at The Glen Montessori School perks up fundraising efforts
Fourth- through sixth-graders at The Glen Montessori School in Ross have a different morning routine than most students.
Instead of catching up with their friends before the start of the school day, Amelia Weishaar's upper-elementary class is selling coffee and other beverages to raise money for a trip to the Montessori Model United Nations Conference in New York City from March 9 to 12.
“I know that other Montessori schools in the middle school will do businesses but not in this age group,” said Weishaar, 38, of Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood.
Weishaar incorporates situations with the business into problems for the seven-student class to solve.
The students run every aspect of Spilled Coffee & Co., from grinding the coffee beans to preparing drinks to order. The class voted on the name and logo, too.
Like any other coffee shop, the logo is proudly displayed on each of the cups.
“It actually started when a parent came to me, and she was like ‘It would be really nice if they could serve coffee at the school,'” Weishaar said.
Any given morning, teachers and parents will stop by to get their beverages before beginning their day.
“It looks like it's heading off to a really great start,” said Amber Murphy, 10, of Pittsburgh.
The young entrepreneurs started selling hot coffee in the mornings toward the end of the 2014-15 school year. With the $500 they raised, the students bought four used iPads for the school.
“I was excited,” said Jackie Herrmann, 43, of Sewickley, the interim executive director for The Glen Montessori School. “I could see the value in this business as a learning opportunity. I could see that they already prepared well.”
With the cost of the trip around $8,500 for the class, the students hope to earn $436 every month and also are seeking corporate sponsorships for the trip.
Seeing a need to expand from serving just coffee to meet their goal, they added flavorings, tea, iced coffee and other cold beverages in addition to a system where customers can purchase a coffee card in $10 and $20 valuations.
“We'll write your name on it, and put it under your initials, and you check off the coffee card when they buy a cup of coffee,” explained Macie Stuckwish, 10.
They also will be offering Pizza Friday, when students will have a chance to get a slice of pizza, a drink, a piece of fruit and a cookie during lunch time.
Each student will get a chance to run the coffee shop. Every month, the assistant manager takes over for the manager. A new assistant manager is promoted, so the students have time to become comfortable with running everything. They also will use this system to run Pizza Fridays.
“They got me hooked right away,” said parent Mark Speedy, 38, of Wexford, whose usual order is an iced coffee with cream, sugar and cinnamon.
As soon as Speedy takes his children upstairs for class, his drink preparation starts. By the time he is ready to leave, his beverage is ready.
With the recent hot weather, the iced coffee has been a popular seller.
Parent Amanda Lovallo-Robinson, 39, of Ben Avon Heights first thought of the idea of selling coffee as a fundraiser.
“I'm completely addicted to coffee,” she said.
Her drink of choice is a regular coffee with a little cream. On a hot day, she opts for an iced coffee. She used to go to a coffee shop to get her fix after dropping off her children at school, and this is more convenient for her.
“Better than Starbucks,” quipped parent Nirav Shah, 42, of Franklin Park as he waited for his coffee.
“Best coffee in town.”
Kyle Gorcey is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.