What’s brewing in the basement of Marshfield Middle School?
MARSHFIELD – There’s nothing like a freshly-brewed cup of coffee to start your day off right. The satisfaction of providing that – and learning a few skills along the way – has left a group of Marshfield Middle School students with a sense of accomplishment.
Basement Brew, a makeshift coffee shop in room 9B on the middle school’s lower level, evolved this past school year to give students an opportunity to develop a sense of pride in their ability to serve others and work collaboratively with their peers. From the coffee grounds up, students were involved with the planning, advertising, and working in the shop, which opened its doors once a month for Middle School and Central Office staff. Proceeds earned from the program are donated to community programs and reinvested into the coffee shop. Cinnamon rolls and donuts were generously donated by Kwik Trip for the last Basement Brew of the school year, held May 19.
Basement Brew started back in November. Marshfield Middle School teachers Amy DeLany and Danielle Wilke wanted to create an experience for students that would engage them in improving various facets, including soft skills, writing and money skills, as well as instill a sense of community and belonging. Students became a part of the decision-making process from the start. Students brainstormed all aspects of how to make Basement Brew happen, including a student-created logo and student-created flyers that advertised the coffee shop monthly.
As with any start-up, the funds necessary to start Basement Brew needed to come from somewhere. With the help of Thrivent’s Action Team Program, the “brew crew” applied for a small grant that was accepted and utilized for the start-up costs.
As business perked up, a request came in for apparel. Organizers teamed up with Mike Hanke, Megan Bremer, and their Career Quest classes who run Tiger Tees. Those students collaborated with Basement Brew’s logo-creator, Charlee Houston, to offer t-shirts for sale.
Students and staff alike enjoyed this unique opportunity provided to students at Marshfield Middle School. Students were encouraged to step outside their comfort zone.
“My favorite part of Basement Brew was the customers and staff working with me,” said Houston. “It feels great that I created a logo that people actually like. It’s crazy that I see it everywhere I go. Basement Brew made me feel welcomed by everyone. It was great. I loved it. I wish I could be a part of it next year,” the soon-to-be freshman added. “I’m sad that I won’t be at the middle school to continue Basement Brew.”
“My favorite part of Basement Brew was making the coffee for staff,” said eighth-grader Emma Weinfurtner. “It was fun to be able to use a machine I never used before. Basement Brew was something new and fun to do in the day, and made me feel like I was a part of something big,” Weinfurtner added. “It was a really fun experience and a great way to prepare students for the real world when they get a job. It also taught customer service.”
That customer service was praised by long-time staff member Tacey Doine, who works at the school district’s Central Office across the parking lot from the middle school.
“Our coffee days [with Basement Brew] are some of our best days of the year,” said Doine. “For every student that has felt awkward, uncomfortable, a little scared, embarrassed, or any other off feeling, you have done a great job and provided an awesome service that was very much appreciated. Thank you for putting yourself out there and stepping out of your comfort zone,” she added. “I work at Central Office and most days we are all work and no play. We work on a computer, phone, are in meetings, help parents and community members, but spend very little time interacting, so what you have offered gives us a break. It also reminds us even though we aren’t with students and teachers everyday what we do is important because it impacts you.”
Basement Brew was offered monthly beginning in December, from before school through the end of third hour (7:30-10:06 a.m.). All items are priced starting at $1.00. Proceeds go into the Community Cares Fund.
Going forward, Basement Brew’s goal is to build upon its momentum by collaborating further with various programs and classes at the middle school.
We can hardly wait to see what’s brewing next fall in the basement of Marshfield Middle School.