Niagara Falls High School's Starbucks coffee shop motivates students in the classroom

Posted at 5:58 AM, Nov 07, 2019

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — Before classes even start, D'Anna Elder's first responsibility is to show up for work and start pouring coffee and tea for teachers and faculty.

"I get here at 7, I brew coffee, wash my hands, and I get straight to work," said Elder, a sophomore at Niagara Falls High School.

Starbucks' new coffee shop located inside Niagara Falls High School is providing job skills for students.

Students learn how to be baristas through a 6 week training course learning how to manage a business; making around $20 a week for the few hours a day they work making tea, lattes, and coffee for teachers.

"I love seeing the people's reaction when they get good type of tea," Elder said. "That's perfect."

This is America's first Barista Training Program, fueled by Niagara Falls native Bobby Anderson.

Anderson says he wanted to bring work like experience for students to help them learn soft skills that they will need for the future.

He created the nonprofit F BITES to help start the initiative. It's costing Niagara Falls Public Schools around $75,000 to kick-start the student-run shop.

"The students are taking away tangible soft skills that will follow them for the rest of their lives," Anderson said.

In the future, Anderson hopes to add food and even open in the afternoon for teachers.

"The enthusiasm has gone way up, their attendance has increased dramatically they treat each other with more respect so behavior has improved as well," said Niagara Falls High School science teacher Ricco Slainan. "They are learning job skills but also it's carried over into the rest of their school day."