Canes Cups teaches students about running a business

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A new service at Cartersville High School is teaching special education students how to run a business.

Canes Cups enables the students to sell and deliver coffee to faculty and staff members every morning and gives them hands-on experience in learning business principles and concepts that will help them after high school.   

"We were trying to come up with ways that our students could be more involved in the school atmosphere while learning skills that they will carry with them throughout life," special education teacher Jessica Hensley said, noting the service started this school year. "We wanted to help our students build social skills, customer service skills and business skills that they could use in the future."

The teachers order their coffee through the cafeteria, and the students pick up the orders and deliver them to staff members all over the campus, Hensley said.

"We do not make the coffee; the cafeteria makes it," she said. "We simply deliver it as of now. They take the coffee and the list of where it goes, and we deliver it."

The program is open to all special ed students, but the number of young entrepreneurs that work each day varies, depending on their daily schedules and on how many orders are taken, Hensley said. 

"As of right now, they all are doing the same thing, but as it evolves and they learn new skills, the jobs will become more specific, and each student will hold a job title," she said. 

Freshman Kedrick Chatman, 14, said he wanted to participate in Canes Cups "'cause I love delivering coffee, because I like to give the coffee to the teacher."

He also said he likes for people to "have a nice day."

Jamonte Williams, also a freshman, said it's "fun" to be in the coffee business. 

"You make the cafeteria money," the 15-year-old said.

The budding merchants are acquiring other skills besides mastering how to sell their product to customers, Hensley said. 

"The students are learning socialization [and] work skills such as following directions, using time management and the daily social skills of having a job," she said.

She also said the operation has "gone great" so far. 

"The students enjoy delivering the coffee and interacting with the staff," she said. "I can't wait to see where this program goes. I am hoping that it will continue to grow into different opportunities for my students to learn different skills that they will need throughout their life."