Helping Hands fosters positive relationships among students


Alicia Feyerherm

Junior Delaney Maier purchases a smoothie from the Helping Hands café, Indian Grounds. “I really like going to Indian Grounds because even though I’m not a coffee-drinker, they have other options like the smoothies,” Maier said. “It’s also nice knowing my money is going to fund a student-run organization.” Indian Grounds is open between 7:15-7:56 a.m on Maroon days in the library.

Beads of sweat formed on senior Gabriela Arthur’s forehead as she delicately piped a design into the frosting of a cake.

“I love being able to pipe designs and put my own creative touch on the baked goods,” Arthur said.

Arthur is part of a course called Helping Hands where students learn business and people skills by running their own bakery and coffee shop.

The coffee shop started up two years ago when principal Martin Straub was looking to get more students to spend time in the school library.

Allison Brooks and Alicia Feyerherm

“I thought it would be a great place for a coffee shop and it might also bring students into that area,” instructor Michelle Thacker said.

Students are in charge of running the cash register, taking and handing out orders, and helping to prepare the product.

“This helps them learn how to greet people appropriately, how to thank them for coming, how to treat people the right way and give them good service,” Thacker said.

Not only are the coffee shop and bakery helping students with their people skills now, the students feel they are being set up for a more successful future.

“My favorite part of the class is definitely the work place experience you obtain from the class,” senior Tyler Rodgers said. “Without it I feel it would be much more stressful in the working world.”

The bakery the students run is based out of the old high school and students go there for class to bake and sell goods.

“The kids down there are learning how to work with each other in an employment setting,” Thacker said.

Helping Hands Bakery

Students find it easy to make friends in this environment because they are constantly being around and working with other students.

“After a while, everyone works together like a well-oiled machine,” Arthur said. “You get to really know everyone’s different personalities.”

You get to really know everyone’s different personalities”

— senior Gabriela Arthur

The Helping Hands class is in the career and technical education hospitality and tourism pathway, which means it sets students up for careers that have to do with people helping people.

“What we are teaching are those soft skills, so they can be able to communicate with people appropriately in a professional setting and give them good service,” Thacker said.

Along with basic hospitality skills, students in this course are learning about the business side of things as well.

“I’ve learned a lot of general work knowledge, how to interact with customers, as well as understanding how the business side works,” Arthur said.

This course helps to push students out of their comfort zone, because they are always working with people, whether it be other students or customers.

“I feel I work much better with people than I previously have,” Rodgers said. “I was an introvert before this class started for me last year and I have opened up so much, Mrs. Thacker thinks I am a whole different person.”


If you would like to support the Helping Hands Bakery, click the infographic below to access the order form.

Alicia Feyerherm