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Students at Park Hill High School Get Entrepreneurial Training with the Help of Jo To Go Coffee

Special Ed students work side by side with mainstream students at Kansas City’s Park Hill High School to create profitable ‘Red and Black Java Shack’ in school cafeteria with the help of the Kansas City Jo To Go Coffee franchisee.

Green Bay, WI, June 02, 2007 --( Bright and early every Wednesday morning, a group of energetic students of all abilities at Park Hill High School, 7701 NW Barry Road, are gaining valuable, real-world job experience thanks to the support of teachers, staff, and the owner/operator of the local Jo To Go Coffee® drive-thru.

The name of the students’ business is the Red and Black Java Shack. They sell Jo To Go specialty coffee for $.75 a cup and offer a full range of condiments (cream, sugar, java jackets, etc.) to the steady stream of students and staff that gather in the school cafeteria before school begins every Wednesday.

The idea for the coffee business was hatched when staff member O.J. Zink visited a neighboring school that offered a coffee shop. He noticed that it was very popular with faculty and students, and offered the opportunity for the students to gain some on-the-job experience. Principal Dr. Brad Kincheloe agreed that a small business would be a valuable teaching tool for both the Special Education and mainstream students at Park Hill High School.

“Richard Oatman came in that very day, said he just opened a Jo To Go Coffee® drive-thru down the road, and asked if he could be involved at the school,” explained Dr. Kincheloe. “I was figuring we would need to negotiate some terms to cover the cost of the coffee, never imagining for a moment that Richard was actually offering to brew the coffee, supply the coffee, drop off the coffee and pick up the tankers when they were finished—all at no cost to the school.”

Richard Oatman commented: “When Dr. Kincheloe first shared his vision with me, my first words were, ‘sign me up.’ This is such an exciting program to be a part of because there are so many business lessons these students can learn from this coffee stand: customer service, marketing, revenue vs. profit, handling money. I am a firm believer that every business has a responsibility to get involved in their community.”

And with that, a small business was born. Dr Kincheloe and Special Education teacher Mr. Rob Self worked with young adults of all abilities to create a brand, selecting a name and commissioning the Graphic Design Class to develop a logo using the Park Hill High School colors as their inspiration. The students now run the stand—their responsibilities include selling the coffee, filling and capping the cups, offering condiments, and collecting and counting the money. With grant money procured by Mr. Self, the students plan on purchasing a cash register to speed up the checkout process.

Proceeds from the business benefit the Special Education Program, and the School Supplies Program for students on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. But Dr. Kincheloe, Mr. Self, and Mr. Oatman would tell you that the profit the business generates can’t be calculated as dollars and cents. The Red and Black Java Shack has allowed the adults in the community to pass on the fruits of their experience; it has built up students’ confidence in their abilities and provided them with marketable skills; and the business has taught young adults how to work together with individuals whose talents and abilities differ from their own.

“I think that this story illustrates that when the adults in the community decide they want to get behind the kids in the community, tremendous things can happen,” commented Dr. Kincheloe. “It is amazing to watch youngsters, some of whom may have struggled in the past, offer you the kind of customer service you would only expect from your very best employee.”

Park Hill High School—with a current population of 1590 students, 118 certified staff members and 58 support staff—is located in the Park Hill School District just north of the Kansas City Metro Area. The high school has a reputation across the State of Missouri for educational excellence and consistent community support. PHHS boasts a wide range of classes and co-curricular programs to highlight and develop each student’s skills. The bands, orchestras, choirs, art departments, newspapers, yearbooks and athletic teams are among the many groups to receive prestigious honors and state and national recognition for their excellence.

There are two Kansas City Jo To Go Coffee® locations owned and operated by Richard Oatman: one on 7121 Northwest Barry Road and one on the campus of First Family Church. Jo To Go Coffee® caters to busy lifestyles with speed, convenience, and fun. The coffee drive-thru has been hailed by Entrepreneur Magazine as the counterbrand to the world’s leading specialty coffee retailer and continues to add coffee franchise opportunities across the U.S. Jo To Go Coffee® has franchises under contract in Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New York and Wisconsin. For more information about Jo To Go Coffee®, please visit or

Contact Information
Jo To Go Coffee
Cathy Zehms

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