Coffee Bean Club brews up new connections

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Courtesy of Paige Trujillo

Sitting inside the Eagle’s Nest, students listen to principal and club sponsor John Burdett’s presentation. The club first began as invitation only, but is now open to any and all students that wish to join. “What we want to do is, with the Coffee Bean Club, we have all these spheres of influence, what we want is that when these spheres overlap, like that piece in the middle of a Venn diagram, we want that to be a positive relationship,” Burdett said. “As we build out from one-to-one, to classroom, to school, to community, that just makes it a better place.”

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In a school full of 3,875 students, one lone person can find it to be a struggle if not involved in athletics or extracurricular activities to build relationships with their peers and teachers. Administrators developed a club to help students make positive connections with each other as they tackle the obstacles of high school and life.

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The Coffee Bean Club is a school-wide organization that serves as a meet-and-greet for every and all students interested in attending. Members meet monthly in small groups in designated classrooms during Eagle Time. The term “coffee bean” comes from motivational speaker Damon West, who visited the school back in September, and refers to his analogy of being a coffee bean and revealing each person’s true potential to transform their surrounding environment for the better.

“The Coffee Bean Club is just an awesome opportunity to teach students about leadership around campus and about choosing to have a positive mindset and positive attitude when life throws you some adversity,” club sponsor Paige Trujillo said. “I really like that aspect of it, and I really think it’s something that will prepare students for life beyond high school.”

Just recently joining the Prosper team this year, Trujillo understands how hard it can be to find trusted adults in the high school scene, which was a driving factor for her wanting to become head sponsor of the club.

Giving them a safe space to work on growing their character, growing the way that they positively relate to others, that sort of stuff that will impact their lives outside of school. That’s something that I really hope our students take away.”

— Paige Trujillo

“I want them to feel like they really trust and love their CBC sponsor. That’s such an important thing for them, as high schoolers, to feel like they have an adult they can trust and rely on,” Trujillo said. “Also giving them a safe space to work on growing their character, growing the way that they positively relate to others, that sort of stuff that will impact their lives outside of school. That’s something that I really hope our students take away.” 

While the district’s Hope Squad program helps students in similar ways, Trujillo said the topics covered in the CBC differ in approach, but still have the same goals as Hope Squad. 

“I hope that CBC can be something that happens alongside Hope Squad, and they work together to impact all of the students on our campus, in some way, shape, or form,” Trujillo said. “Although we don’t talk about the same things that Hope Squad talks about, we hope to still build relationships and give students a safe space to feel like they’re a part of Prosper High School.”

Principal John Burdett, another sponsor of the CBC, sees the club as a way for students to develop deeper connections with one another that will benefit not only the school, but the community.

“Human connection, I don’t know if it’s the most important thing, but it has to be one of them,” Burdett said. “Feeling valued and cared for by others and also reciprocating that to other people, that makes us better people. It makes us a better community and makes us a bigger family. We really want to be the family here while you’re away from home.”

Burdett describes interactions in our school, work, and personal lives as “spheres of influence” and hopes that the CBC can teach students how to create positive relationships when those spheres overlap.

“What we want to do is, with the Coffee Bean Club, we have all these spheres of influence, what we want is that when these spheres overlap, like that piece in the middle of a Venn diagram, we want that to be a positive relationship,” Burdett said. “As we build out from one-to-one, to classroom, to school, to community, that just makes it a better place.”

Because of the amount of negativity swarming around teens in their daily lives, Burdett said it’s important to learn how to control our relationships and our environment by focusing on the good.

With all eyes on a club sponsor, Coffee Bean Club members listen to an activity at their kick-off event. Club meetings consist of faculty members giving presentations over their specific topic for the week. Students who are interested in joining one of the club’s small groups can ask their teachers or contact the head sponsor, Paige Trujillo, for more information.

“We have a lot of negativity in the world. There always will be, you know, but what we can control is how we impact the environment in which we are in,” Burdett said. “What we can control, what we can impact, in a positive way, is part of what the Coffee Bean is.” 

Students involved in the club said they find it interesting and enjoy learning how to become an everyday leader, even if it’s just leading by being a source for their peers to come to when they need it.

“Honestly, when it first started, I didn’t think I had the leadership skills, like the skills to be someone who could make someone else’s day better,” club member and junior Riley Miller said. “I find the worth in it. I feel like it has a place here.”

During meetings, students are given a presentation by the club sponsors that ask them questions to help start conversations and promote socialization. Miller said the conversations allow him to “gain comfort from other people.”

“High school’s a time where people go through hardships. Some people get through it just fine. Others struggle a lot more, and it kind of just sets their mood in a dark place,” Miller said. “This helps with that so that people can just breeze through it.” 

According to Burdett, the CBC strives to impact any and all students that are interested in joining the club and hope to connect students to their fellow peers and faculty at a deeper level.

“My goal, when I leave here, when I leave this earth, I hope that I’ve connected with people on a level that is deeper every day, and I hope that we’ve grown together,” Burdett said. “At the end of the day, if we have deeper connections, if we are growing with one another, when you all leave here, you’ll be ready for whatever that is – military, workforce, college, and not only ready for that, but you’re going, and you’re making a positive impact on others.”