HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – Coffee, hot chocolate, or tea, Mackenzie Flickinger’s functional academics class provides it all. 

The functional academics class at Chickahominy Middle School teaches basic core subjects like math, reading and science. In addition, they take a life skills elective course providing vocational skill-building training to individuals with disabilities.

That is how the coffee cart took the term mobile order to the next level. 

“Coffee cart came from a non-profit called Raise. So, all the supplies you saw in the classroom, the coffee, the cups, the creamer, it all comes from Raise,” said Flickinger. “They supply all Hanover county middle and high schools with the supplies they need to do a coffee cart program.” 

The coffee cart travels through the halls of Chickahominy Middle School, serving hot beverages made by Miss Flickinger’s class, and is delivered to paying teachers and staff. 

“These skills are foundational, and I hope they will take these skills into a job one day. It doesn’t mean they all have to be baristas,” said Flickinger. “They are learning how to deal with money and follow directions from an employer, so I hope these skills will translate, and it will help my students become employed daily.” 

The students start at 9 a.m. by receiving their duties for the coffee cart. Assignments include:

  • Making the hot chocolate/tea
  • Making the coffee/iced coffee
  • Putting sleeves onto cups
  • Sorting out the creamers
  • Labeling the lids 

By 9:30 a.m., the class splits into two groups to ensure they stop by every classroom with an order. 

“We did a lot of preparation before we started this. First, we do a unit about making change, the proper way to greet a customer, and the proper way to say goodbye,” says Miss Flickinger. “Then, there is a whole unit about making the drinks and just working a coffee machine.” 

Miss Flickinger sends out a Google doc to the teachers at the beginning of the week to fill out their beverage orders. Then, the coffee cart rolls through the school on either Thursday or Friday, making the end of the week a little bit sweeter. 

“We just like helping the teachers feel happy,” said Danielle, a functional academic student. 

Danielle oversaw making the hot chocolate and tea. 

“Mrs. Flickinger showed us how to make coffee, and it was cool,” says Danielle. 

With drinks only costing $1, the students are asked to hand out the orders, count change, and determine if the teacher needs any cream and sugar.

“The coffee is just one dollar. Our goal is to make it affordable so that everyone will want to participate, and Raise does not ask for any of it back,” said Flickinger. “By keeping it, we can use that money to do things as a class. For example, last year, we took a field trip to Lewis Ginter and used that money for classroom items we may need.” 

In a class of nine, some students will filter out and join other classrooms throughout the day. However, whenever anybody sees the coffee cart rolling by, they know Miss Flickinger’s class is having a good time learning. 

“Coffee cart is a big hit here. I’m very thankful for the teachers at Chickahominy because they are also the reason we can continue to do this program. If they don’t buy it, we wouldn’t be able to do it each week,” said Flickinger.