By Callie Daruk
A custom made sign that reads, Adairville Coffee Shop hangs outside of an extraordinary classroom at Adairville School. After seeing a Facebook post entitled, How to start a coffee shop, Adairville School teacher, Sara Corum and assistant, Sally Graves was inspired to start one of their own.
“I’ve always wanted to create a coffee shop in my classroom and be able to shine a light to let others see the amazing things our students are capable of,” said Corum.
In September 2018, they began serving up coffee and haven’t stopped since. Following assembly, each morning teachers and guests alike stop by the shop to place their orders. Using Keurig pods under Corum’s direction and supervision, students make everything from gourmet coffees, hot chocolate brimming with a helping of whipped cream or marshmallows, and apple cider. After custom making drinks, students put the coffees on a cart and as a class, Corum, Graves and their students deliver their smiles and their drinks to the teachers’ classroom.
“They learn so many wonderful skills while preparing the coffee,” said Corum.
“As well as helping students learn how to correctly prepare, serve, and deliver coffee to their teachers, they learn how to complete everyday tasks independently such as communicating with adults, working and collaborating with their peers and life skills such as handling money.”
With the money raised, Corum and Graves have not only been able to sustain their coffee shop for more than a year, but they’ve also been able to take their class on field trips throughout the year that continue teaching them valuable skills. Seeing the students from the coffee shop each day is a welcomed highlight for many teachers at Adairville School. Every day and especially at Thanksgiving, they are so thankful for the shop and especially for the students who serve in it.
Preschool teacher, Andrea Scott, loves her personal afternoon treat served up by her former students. “I love that it allows them to put into practice valuable life skills and engage in social interactions,” said Scott. When asked about the coffee shop, music teacher, Molly Roberson, said, "Through the coffee shop, our students get a sense of ownership. It’s also a great way for teachers to show kindness to each other. It’s nice to be teaching and get a surprise knock at the door with a student holding a drink another teacher sent me. Through the coffee shop, we all get to help each other.”
On a beautifully decorated bulletin board not far from the shop, were the words: We rise by lifting others up. At Adairville School, that is so much more than a motto—it’s a way of life and the students in Corum and Grave’s classroom serve it piping hot.