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Students wake up to business experience

A lot of people need their cup of coffee in the morning.

News flash: High schoolers are people too.

A student-run coffee shop called Wake U.P. operates in conjunction with Christine Columb’s marketing class at Marquette Senior High School. Located on the second floor, the shop is open about 30 minutes before the first bell Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Although not every student involved in the project has aspirations of being a barista, the coffee shop gives them an opportunity for hands-on business experience.

About six students, including a student manager, work a shift. Although they aren’t paid, their work is part of their marketing class grades.

It’s not just about pouring black coffee into a cup. They make items such as mocha coffee and Italian soda. They choose the menu. They manage inventory and accounting, and create and analyze business reports based on the data they collect.

Just like real businesspeople.

And the students are involved in ways typical businesspeople might not consider. For example, a student who enjoys videography created a commercial to run during student announcements.

Being in a school setting also has its advantages. Students in geometry and industrial education classes designed and built benches for the shop, and the advanced construction class is working on an additional countertop.

The prices are set to continually meet supply but yet be affordable to students. Profits then go back to the coffee shop that, it is hoped, will grow and evolve — the goal of many businesses.

As with many school endeavors, though, making money is not necessarily the primary goal. With Wake U.P., students are getting a taste of marketing a product, which should give them insight on how to proceed with their post-high school careers.

As Columb told The Mining Journal in a Tuesday story, the coffee shop is a lot of work, but it’s worth it to see the students’ ambition, motivation, ideas and creativity.

Even if the students don’t enter the marketing field, those qualities certainly will come in useful in any walk of life.

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