The students are lined up at Rockport-Fulton High School to get into the library, but they aren’t necessarily looking for books.
They’re looking for their morning cup of Joe at the Overdue Brew, a coffee shop run by library science student aides.
RFHS School Library has served coffee for years, but a recent remodel has taken it to a whole, new level.
The café area now sports striking ceramic tile and seats twenty at its bistro tables, but the conversation-piece is the custom-designed coffee bar itself. Originally designed by Culinary Arts teacher, Linda Hamilton, the bar was constructed by Casey Stephenson and his Construction Technology student crew of Joe Dafft, Noe Deleon, Yohan Garcia-Castanon, Ricky Salazar, and Scott Singleterry. They constructed an absolute showpiece that comfortably seats five students as they sip and read their favorite magazine or book, play board games, or even work out math problems while student baristas serve them.
Additionally, welding instructor, Chief David Wilson, also contributed to what has become a community effort. On close inspection, patrons can see that the supporting brackets on the bar are custom-made cast iron branches. Also, theater arts teacher, John Luttman, and art teacher, Katie Ledbetter, artistically modified outdated oak barstools. Nevertheless, Samantha Cantrell, library media assistant, said her favorite part of the café is the commissioned chalkboard. “I love that Mr. Stephenson found an original blackboard from Old Rockport Elementary. We wonder just how old it is. It’s like we’ve helped preserve part of Aransas County’s history. Just imagine how many generations of students were taught using it.”
The Overdue Brew promotes reading and studying by attracting high school students that might not otherwise hang out in the library. “Once they’re in here, and they have their coffee, perhaps I can convince them to sit down and read a book or check out a Chromebook and study,” said Kathleen Cady, RFHS Library Media Specialist. “We can assist by helping them choose their next book to read or even answer homework questions if they have them.”
The coffee sales do not have a high profit margin, but the fundraising effort does pay for a field trip each school year to the Greater Houston Teen Book Con. The library staff is planning to make the annual trip again in April 2017 and hopes to bring even more students this year.
On a recent school day at RFHS, 16-year-old Bailey Esquivel, who is a student aide at the café, was sitting at one of the small round table with friends. He said he likes the Overdue Brew “because he can get a cup of coffee and go sit and read a book.”
Would he be reading in the library anyway if there were no coffee?
“I don’t think so,” he said, “because it would be boring just sitting here.”