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Salamander Cafe serves up hot coffee and cold cash

Bolton students raise funds for a school beautification project
by: Lori Hall Leadership students recently opened a cafe at Bolton Primary. From left, Dylan Burch, Camille Whitehouse, Mira Henry, Kaylee Hawkins and Izzy Kreske put together the morning offerings.

Bolton Primary School parent Maizy Tenner rushed out of the house last Monday morning to get her two kids to school on time - which meant she had to forgo her morning coffee. But she wasn't concerned; she had a backup plan.

After saying goodbye to her kids at the school's front door, Tenner headed downstairs to the school's art room to get her cup of joe.

In February, a group of fifth-graders launched the Salamander Café at the school. Every Monday, from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m., caffeine-deprived and empty-bellied school staff and parents can get a cup of coffee or tea and some handmade goodies.

Sustainability Leadership students Dylan Burch, Eliott Avery, Kaylee Hawkins, Camille Whitehouse, Mira Henry, Matthew White and Izzy Kreske came up with the idea. The name, Salamander Café, arose just because two of the students have pet salamanders and the other kids thought that was cool.

Kreske said her Sustainability Leadership group was looking for a way to raise money for the school and they came up with the idea of hosting a weekly café.

Funds earned from the sale of coffee and treats go toward a beautification project for the alley that runs through a portion of the school.

'It's kind of boring,' Kreske said of the alley's current condition, which is highly visible from the art room.

'For me, it's an opportunity for kids to feel empowered, make money and contribute to the school,' said principal Holly Omlin-Ruback. Plus, 'It's a lot of fun.'

To keep the café running, once a week the students go shopping with a teacher or Omlin-Ruback to purchase supplies. The students have a variety of recipes for muffins, brownies (for breakfast!) and granola. They also purchase yogurt and fresh fruit.

'We make all of it,' Burch said. Kreske added that they try to buy local ingredients when they can.

The students research and try out different recipes and even survey their customers as to which muffins taste the best.

On each Thursday during their leadership time, the group gets together and starts baking so the goods are ready first-thing Monday morning.

The coffee comes from Starbucks or Peet's, as a donation or at a discount.

On Monday mornings, the students set up two tables - one with the tea and coffee and another with the food. The kids, wearing red aprons, are ready and waiting to serve up breakfast.

On Monday, March 12, a steady stream of adults came into the café.

'I love it because I didn't have time to get coffee and my money goes to the school,' Tenner. said

The students hope they are starting a tradition at the school and that the café continues long after they move on to middle school.

This spring they hope to have an afternoon concession stand with lemonade and even more brownies.



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