POCOMOKE – A new initiative at Pocomoke High School is giving students the chance to learn life skills that will help them as adults.
The main hallway at Pocomoke High School (PHS) now features the Poco Percolator, a café counter serving coffee and hot chocolate each morning. The shop is staffed by PHS students.
“We really want to make sure our kids leave us with the experience necessary to be successful,” Principal Annette Wallace said.
She said the idea of a student-run coffee shop had been discussed in the past but that Matt Hoffman, an assistant principal at PHS, took charge of the concept and helped launch it at the start of the school year. Currently, freshmen Shelby Evans and Zion Moore work at the Poco Percolator under a teacher’s supervision each morning before classes start. They sell coffee, hot chocolate and occasionally baked goods at the counter, which is also the school’s indoor concession stand. Both teenagers say they enjoy the opportunity. What do they like best?
“Helping people,” said Moore, who is in his first year at PHS after attending Cedar Chapel Special School.
Teacher Kara Fitzgerald said the experience tied in perfectly with the school system’s focus on ensuring students were college and career ready when they graduated.
“These are real life skills,” she said.
While customers have a limited menu at the Poco Percolator right now, it’s expected to expand in the near future. This week, Jamie Evans of XO Beanery and Bites in Pocomoke invited Moore and Evans to the shop to show them how to make some specialty drinks such as the Oreo frappe. He’ll be showing the students how to make drinks and giving them the opportunity to work at XO to gain experience. They’ll be able to use their new beverage prep skills at the Poco Percolator as well.
“We want to give back to the community,” Evans said. “Kids are the next generation.”
Administrators at Pocomoke High say the new initiative is a great way to enhance the skills of students who plan to enter the workforce after graduation.
“It provides additional opportunities for students to get life and career skills training,” said Jenifer Rayne, an assistant principal at PHS.
The café is also giving the rest of the PHS student body a place to get hot drinks before classes start. During the past week, the café has sold about 30 drinks a day.
“It’s been a good little start,” Wallace said.
While Evans and Moore are the only students staffing the café now, Wallace said more students will be provided with the chance to work there as the school year progresses.