Seneca Square joins other schools' student stands

October 23, 2019 Cranberry Local News


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Seneca Valley student Avi Rao hands change to a student at Seneca Square inside the Intermediate High School.

Seneca Square, a student-run smoothie stand in the Seneca Valley Intermediate High School, joins other drink enterprises springing up in Butler County high schools.

Since 2017, a coffee shop has been selling hot coffee, tea, cappuccinos and healthy snacks to Seneca Valley Senior High School students, staff and faculty.

Staffed by exceptional students off the senior high's main lobby, Grounds for Thought is open from 7:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. every school day.

The shop grew out of an earlier coffee delivery service started in 2014-15 school year.

That was also the origin of the Rocket Fuel Cafe that opened in the Mars Area High School at the beginning of the 2018 school year, said Samantha Flanhofer, the life skills teacher.

Her students started with a cart that traveled from homeroom to homeroom selling items before moving onto a full-blown coffee shop across from the library, right by the main office in the high school.

Open from 7:30 to 10:45 a.m. every school day, the cafe sells coffee, various teas and hot chocolate.

“They work with members of the Gifted Club and the French Club,” Flanhofer said of her students. “It's been a huge success.”

Manning the cafe as either managers or baristas teaches her students lessons in work etiquette, money exchanges and social skills, she said.

That's the same lessons that students working in the just-opened Rock Shop at Slippery Rock High School are being taught, said Melanie Cole, transition coordinator at the school.

Started Sept. 5, the Rock Shop is located in the concession stand at the front entry of the high school. Manned by special education and regular students, it dispenses snacks, beverages and coffee from 7:30 to 11 a.m. to students who have study hall in the school day's first four periods.

Cole said, “It's going great. The students are respecting the freedom they have been given. They have not taken advantage of it.”

Life skills students also man the coffee shop, the Knoch Off Cafe, in part of the former library at Knoch High School.

Open for every period, except lunch, of the school day, the shop dispenses coffee, health snacks and tea.

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Eric Freehling

Eric Freehling

Eric was born in Butler and grew up in Winfield Township. He graduated from Knoch High School and later Indiana University of Pa. with a degree in Journalism. After working as a reporter and editor with the Kittanning Leader-Times, he moved to Bloomington, Illinois, where he worked at The Pantagraph newspaper as a copy editor, page designer, reporter and business editor. Freehling later worked at the Houston Chronicle as senior copy editor and the Chicago Tribune as a copy editor on the business desk. He moved back to Pennsylvania in 2010 and joined the Butler Eagle as Community Editor in January 2011.