STANFORD, KY – October 30, 2019
Wednesdays and Fridays have become highly anticipated days for Stanford Elementary staff over the past year. Why you ask? Coffee, that’s why! And it’s not just any old coffee, it’s coffee served up by Val’s Pals Café.
Val’s Pals Café is a café cart that serves the entire school delicious drinks and sweet treats twice a week. The café cart started making its way around the hallways about a year ago as a way for Mrs. Valerie Pike’s (Mrs. Val) second through fifth grade Alternate Curriculum Class at Stanford Elementary to work on their social skills and interact more with their peers and teachers throughout the school. This real-life business opportunity allows students to work on social skills, life skills, counting money and serving others.
The students take up orders on Tuesdays and Thursdays and deliver on Wednesdays and Fridays. On order days, the students (accompanied by instructional assistants) go around the school and take orders from staff members. The orders are compiled and the next day two different carts, one for each side of the building, head out for delivery.
The café is named Val’s Pals because of the name of the teacher who teaches the class. Mrs. Valerie Pike is an Intermediate MSD Teacher at Stanford Elementary. This is her fifth year at the school. “In our class we believe every student can learn, no matter their disability. This opportunity lets them know their disability does not define them in life. We want them to know the sky is the limit for them, whether it be working for an employer or running their own business one day. Doing this with them twice a week lets them see and learn these lessons,” said Mrs. Val.
Val’s Pals Café offers an impressive menu. Coffee, hot chocolate, hot apple cider, lemonade, tea and desserts are staples. However, they do offer seasonal items at times too. They hope to offer pumpkin bread this Friday. Sometimes the students can use vegetables from the school garden to make things too, like zucchini bread.
The money made from sales is used strictly for the students in the class. Mrs. Val said in the last year they’ve used their profit for book fairs, field trips, parties and Christmas gifts. “Last year we were able to purchase a $30 gift for every student in the class because of our café. Seeing their faces light up with excitement as they opened their gift is one of my greatest memories of the past year,” said Mrs. Val.