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On Thursday mornings at Maryville High School, students and staff have the opportunity to have coffee and snacks delivered to them from students trying to further their employment skills after completing high school.

Spoofy Beans Coffee Shop is in its sixth year of operating at MHS, and every year it teaches more students how to function in a job outside of school.

“The overall purpose is to provide students with employment opportunities and to work on post-secondary skills needed for employment,” Maryville High School special service teacher Candace Boeh said.

Throughout the jobs offered in the coffee shop, student workers learn a variety of skills all the way from greeting a customer to taking inventory and looking at supply and demand.

“We have baristas and then people who are on delivery,” Boeh said. “The deliveries have different jobs too. We also have someone who greets the customer, someone who takes the order and then someone who is in charge of the change.”

Superintendent Becky Albrecht said this job gives students a great deal of responsibility, and they gain a sense of pride and satisfaction through working in the shop.

“Real-life experiences help all students to better transition into the adult world by teaching them the practical skills needed for employment and independent living,” Albrecht said.

These jobs are similar to the ones that they may find in a shop outside of MHS after they’ve completed high school. On top of learning the skills needed for employment, students are also having to deal with the complications that come with safety during the pandemic.

The jobs are teaching students how to adapt to situations like taking extra safety precautions when they are preparing and handling food and interacting with customers. Despite COVID-19, the coffee shop is still running smoothly as it has in previous years.

Boeh said the coffee shop is important to have for students and offers serious benefits that she would’ve liked to have when she was in high school.

“You’re seeing more coffee shops around in high schools to provide these skills,” Boeh said. “I would’ve loved to have classes that taught me how to get a job and how to apply for a job and get some actual job experience within the school day because I really didn’t have any job experience coming out of college.”

The necessary life skills that come through the teaching of employment skills is something that Spoofy Beans tries to provide all of its students. Through learning these skills, Boeh said, students are building a resume and having fun along the way.

“The kids love it, the customers love it, and it’s just a really great program,” Boeh said. “You can’t just start this anywhere. You have to have buy-in from the community and the staff, and that’s what really has made this shop successful.”

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