DUBLIN — Teachers and staff at West Bladen High now have a relaxing spot for a cup of coffee and muffin.
Knights’ Way Cafe unofficially opened its doors on Thursday morning for training, with Bladen County Schools Superintendent Robert Taylor one of the first to enjoy a cup of coffee. Throughout the morning, about 45 teachers, staff and family members of students were served.
“I have six students who served as barristers, cashiers, servers and delivery person,” said Amy Schumacher, a teacher in West Bladen High School’s EC Adaptive Class. “My kiddos amazed me … I was walking on sunshine all day.”
Aside from providing coffee and muffins at a minimal cos, Knights’ Way Cafe has a more important mission. The cafe is operated as an occupational lab aimed at providing disabled students with job skills.
“This is a learning experience for my students,” Schumacher said. “We would love to grow the occupational lab and one day expand to offer other opportunities based on what the students in my class would like to do when they enter the adult world and begin working.”
Knights’ Way Cafe, which will be open on Tuesday’s and Thursdays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., will hold a ribbon-cutting on Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. when it will be open to the public — complimentary cake will be shared, coffee will be sold for $2, tea and hot chocolate will be sold for $1.
Schumacher said the idea for a cafe at West Bladen came from several sources.
“For many years I have worked with my students making crafty items and selling them in fundraiser efforts to purchase supplies and teaching materials for our class,” she said. “Many of my fellow teachers told me I should open a store. This was the seed … once planted it needed to grow.”
The rest of the story will be shared at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The special initiative has a partner in Miller’s Crew, a non-profit organization out of Cumberland County that provided all the equipment for the Cafe. Schumacher’s students also held fundraisers to be able to purchase coffee, creamers, sugar, cups, stirrers, plates, napkins and other necessary items.
“The Knights’ Way Cafe is NOT a business,” Schumacher said. “… the price of the coffee and muffins pays for the supplies to be replaced.”
She added that Thursday’s training time was a success for the students — and each received tips for their service. She also said parents of students are welcome to stop by the Cafe on Tuesdays and Thursdays “and support us by purchasing coffee and a muffin.”
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.