Every school day morning at Hamilton Middle School, staff members get their caffeine fix with a smile and joke from Taylor Sale's Intensive Resource students as well as Allison Lesh's Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) students! As the school day begins, the students put on their aprons and get to work fulfilling custom orders from teachers and various staff members. From coffee, to tea, to cream and sugar, the Hawkeye Coffee Crew does it all!
After the orders are completed with the name of the teacher labeled on the cups, they're placed on trays and the students take to the halls to deliver them to their classrooms.
Behind every delivery, Mrs. Sale and Mrs. Lesh's students share a morning greeting, typically followed by a joke of the day.
Sale, who was hired into the position in 2016, started the coffee shop and it has evolved from there.
"Over the past several years, we have adapted and grown the program, but our intention has stayed the same," Sale said. "Beyond the functional daily skills that are taught in order to run the shop and fill the drink orders, our goal is to authentically create and foster relationships between teachers and students who receive specialized programming at HMS."
The program helps expand upon the community that Hamilton Middle School is known for.
"Students have a chance to meet and practice communication with new people, are exposed to more general education classrooms, and build relationships with staff they might not have the opportunity to without this experience. The "Coffee Crew" has such a strong positive presence in the building and the students are an integral part of the HMS community," added Sale.
As for the students, Anna Council says it's the coffee shop is the highlight of her day.
"I love doing the coffee deliveries," Council told WZZM reporter Riley Mack during an interview, "I love to help people and spread happiness and joy."
The Hawkeye Coffee Shop was featured on the WZZM Morning News on Friday, November 3rd!