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As millions of Americans and others around the world can attest, there is nothing quite like a good cup of coffee to start the day.

Thanks to the efforts of about 50 students and one teacher, the Spartans of Brookfield East High School now realize that too.

This year, Joe Seaman and his business leadership class have taken on the challenge of opening up a nearly completely student-run coffee shop at Brookfield East.

"We've been trying to come up with this since last year. Our principal (Andy Farley) came up with the idea towards the end of last year," Spartan Union Coffee Shop marketing team member Chrisjian Staples said. "We did a lot of planning over the summer."

The shop opened in September and is now in its second semester. A variety of refreshments and snacks are available at the Spartan Union including coffee, hot chocolate, ice drinks, bakery items and smoothies.

"It's all over the board what we sell. Some days it will be a smoothie day, or sometimes everybody seems to want blended coffee," Staples said.

The Spartan Union gets its coffee from Stone Creek and has three of its own signature blends, including the Spartan Blend, the Spartan Dark Roast and the Beast Decaf Blend. In addition to coffee, Stone Creek also provides training for the students of the leadership class.

Staples, a senior who plans to attend Michigan State University next year, and Seaman estimate that up to 100 students visit the shop on a daily basis.

"It's basically like, we tried to get a college-union-type atmosphere to have students come down and grab a quick cup of coffee and do their work," Staples said.

Seaman, who is in his second year at Brookfield East, previously worked in sales and marketing for 10 years and enjoys passing his knowledge from his other endeavors.

"The business leadership class operates this, and really the class, like a business. Once they come into this class, they are a part of a business and they're running the entire coffee shop," Seaman said.

Students in the class are broken up into four departments: finance, management, marketing and hospitality.

"Within those departments they all have something to do every single day specific to their department," Seaman said. "Really every day is different and the skills that they're getting are far beyond anything they can learn online or out of a book. It's complete collaboration, communication and all the job skills that businesses are looking for."

Seaman's business leadership class is open only to juniors and seniors, which he says helps to ensure that students are mature enough to handle the responsibilities that come with it.

"As a teacher, I rely on them to really run it and my job is to start backing off and let the students run this every single day and be more of a facilitator instead of micromanaging," Seaman said. "There's a lot of trust involved because they're out of the classroom going back and forth and handling hundreds of dollars a day."

Those hundreds of dollars are all pieces in helping Staples and his classmates pay back the school district for fronting some of the start-up cash to make the union possible alongside donations.

"Right now, the money is going to pay back the loans from the district," Staples said. "We're going to get all that out of the way and then, once we're done doing that, we're gonna' try to do something putting the money into the school."

Staples and Seaman are also proud of the fact that the union does not seem to be a popular spot for only a segment of the student population.

"It's everyone: teachers, custodians, all sorts of students come in and they love the place," Staples said.

With the shop now in its second semester, Seaman is looking forward to next year and the new challenges that it will bring for the Spartan Union and his students.

"I think every semester's going to be different. I will say probably next year we're still fine-tuning everything," Seaman said. "The first year, with any business, it's really just fine-tuning and learning and getting everything set up. It's really up to (the students). I even tell them 'This is your game. What do you want to do?'"

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