MERCERVILLE — South Gallia Middle-High School students recently started serving up their own coffee in an initiative bent on sharpening math, entrepreneurial and service skills.
“Teachers can come and place the order or email it,” said Principal Bray Shamblin,”and then have (the coffee) delivered to their classroom. The students operate a bit like baristas. It’s part of their class.”
“Mrs. Morgan Saunders,” said South Gallia’s Randy Kessinger, “it was sort of her idea and something she had done with students in Tennessee. It gives these kids some good work place skills. It’s been going since about September.”
Darlene Hampton also assists the students in Rebel Roast along with Kessinger.
“I used to work in Tennessee,” said Saunders. “I served on a board called the Palmer Center Foundation for east Tennessee and southwest Virginia. Initially, I was a grant writer to the board then became a vice president. So I went from a writer to a grant reviewer. We found in my time there, we were getting all these grants for coffee carts because it can give job skills and work-based learning in a school setting. They were able to build relationships and job skills and it was super successful.”
“We want students to lead and feel included,” said Saunders. “Leader in Me focuses on seven habits of highly effective people and was started by Steven Covey and the Franklin Covey Foundation. In Tennessee, we were a Leader in Me school district and watching these students begin to take ownership and own their learning, that was the purpose of South Gallia becoming a Leader in Me school. It’s about connecting education to the real world.”
The school reached out to Ohio Valley Bank and Holzer Health System to serve as a partnered sponsorship of the program which gave the Rebel Roast enough money to buy all its equipment to start. The program utilizes Silver Bridge Coffee.
“We range in age from 13 up to 16,” said Kessinger. “We’ve got five students participating. It’s basically something grassroots we started here and it’s really centered around the kids…This has been great to have integrated into our classroom.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.