An unedited literary work for UNW by Olivia Friesen

“The 2021-2022 school year brought new excitement to Legacy with the grand opening of the Legacy Christian Academy Café (LCA Café). From the sounds of cheerful, lighthearted baristas to the smell of hot coffee wafting from behind the counter, excited students eagerly cluster together at the LCA Café to visit throughout the day. Located directly within Legacy’s busy high school commons, the café is hard to miss. By being a warm and welcoming environment, there is no mistake that this place is buzzing with excitement. From a personal account of the LCA Café, the baristas have greatly benefited many students’ lives. Overall, the LCA Café is not only a place to stop and have a great cup of coffee, but also a place where encouraging community and long-lasting friendships can be built. The new LCA Café allows Legacy students to enjoy a welcoming and warm environment, encourages building community with other students, and builds relationships with trusted mentors and adults on the Legacy Faculty.

While the LCA Café may offer a wide variety of cold beverages, caffeinated drinks, and sugary pastries, it also provides a warm and welcoming environment for students of all ages. Early in the morning, a long line of talkative students forms outside of the café entrance. Along with an occasional laugh erupting from the baristas, the loud chatter of 20 high school students waiting in a crowded line can be heard. From the stuffed line came the soft shuffling of feet and a wave of the adolescent students’ various perfumes and body sprays. At the pickup station, students stood in crouched-over positions like young mothers with their hands full trying to stuff all of their loose change back into their billfolds. The barista placed a frozen drink on the glossy countertop, snapped on a translucent lid, and gave a warm smile. The crowds of excited high school students and the kindness of the baristas display the LCA Café as a comfortable and welcoming environment for any student to walk into. An interview with a high school student further proves how the students themselves feel welcomed and safe at the LCA Café. After being asked, “How does the café make you feel?” She promptly responded, “It is homey, and you feel welcomed and there are people who will not judge you” (R. Boone, personal communication, April 27, 2022). Rather than a loud and noisy convenience, the LCA Café is a space where students can feel welcomed.

Amongst the hubbub of the café, snippets of relationship-building conversations can be heard. While observing the space, two girls can be seen standing awkwardly with their heads down at the pick-up station waiting for their drinks. All that could be heard was the loud clamoring rustle of ice cubes being poured into a clear plastic cup. As they quickly glanced at each other the forceful, yet subtle slam of the rubber-lined cooler door interrupted their gaze. Soon after, the screeching of the blender roared as it violently crushed up the ice cubes. As the barista cracked open the blender, a whiff of chocolate can be smelled. Next to her, the petite girl giggled as she glanced first at the blender and then at the senior standing to the left of her. Their quick conversation was drowned out by upbeat Christian music playing from the overhead speakers. What may have appeared as small talk, was the first step to a blooming friendship. A seemingly overlooked fact is that the café forced these two girls to talk and thus created a new friendship. While the café was supplying their beverages, it was also supplying these two girls the opportunity to create bonds with each other. A little while later, one of the baristas, cheery-cheeked Mrs. Barker, was asked a couple of questions. Mrs. Barker gladly smiled and pointed out how she has gotten to know and learn more about the students each day. She also claimed, “The LCA Café is a gathering place where students can chat and build friendships while waiting for their drinks. Not only does it offer a caffeine boost but also encourages building community” (J. Barker, personal communication, April 27, 2022). The joyful laughter flowing from the LCA Café suggests that the Café has allowed more opportunities for community and friendships to be built.

LCA Café allows students to build relationships with trusted mentors and adults on the Legacy Faculty, specifically the baristas, as well. On a busy afternoon, a popular high school Legacy student, Eva Larson, stated how she, along with other students, has been able to create strong, healthy mentor relationships with adults at LCA. After shifting her gaze towards the café again, she shared, “Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Barker have helped me and supported me in life during the school year. They are caring and supportive. They seem like safe mother figures that I can talk to in school.” Near the end of the conversation, Eva also reported how she has, “gained more opportunities or business skills to widen her experiences and qualifications” (E. Larson, personal communication, April 27, 2022). Along with claims by other students, this is clear proof that the LCA Café has impacted and created relationships between students and faculty members.

While places like the café are assumed to simply be a spot for convenience items, the LCA café holds a crucial job of being the new focal point for building community among the classmates and bringing together both faculty and students. Without sitting down and simply observing the things taking place around the café, one may never know the depth one place or person has on another. The café is influencing safe friendships to be made between students. The LCA Café brought new excitement to Legacy Christian Academy by being a safe environment where students can get to know each other along with creating relationships between students and faculty. In the end, the LCA Café has surpassed all hopes and goals and has become exactly what it was created to become.”