Spreading love and kindness to Fossil through coffee


Gigi LeBerger, Academics Writer

Cup of Joe started two years ago as an idea by Robert Joseph Allen, a former teacher at Fossil Ridge High School. Allen was a special education teacher and had a true passion for being in the classroom. Through his constant spreading of kindness and joy wherever he went, it was tough to see such a great teacher leave Fossil so suddenly.

 “You can make the world a better place then it is if you just open your eyes,” said Joe Allen and his words are the foundation for the class code. The code includes pushing students to try new things, have fun and enjoy working, be kind to the staff, customers, and yourself, give back to philanthropy, volunteer, and learn from your mistakes.

Unfortunately, Allen died last year while trying to save his son off the Oregon coast of the Pacific Ocean as he fell off his bodyboard.

Carrying on the memory and soul of his classroom, teachers  Adam Waters and Todd took it upon themselves to turn Cup of Joe into an actual business; determined to make Allen’s dream into a reality. Students help make the decorations for the classroom along with creating the menu for the coffee shop. Keeping things simple makes it easier for students to order what they want quickly. They offer tea, lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, chai, brewed coffee and cold brews on the menu.

Waters has equipped the shop with a two head coffee machine with wand steamers, coffee grinder, and a newly added Nitro Cold Brew machine. They get all of their coffee beans and food locally from Harbinger Coffee, Matador, and all their dairy products from Morning Fresh.

The shop is run primarily by the students with special needs at Fossil. They use working in the shop as a learning experience for the students, help them gain real world experience while still in the classroom.

“It is a fun place to be and I enjoy getting to meet a lot of new people in the school. Making coffee is a lot of fun too,” said Cory Fitzpatrick, a student at Fossil and Barista at Cup of Joe. Fitzpatrick has been working for Cup of Joe for around five years now. Fitzpatrick loves working for the coffee shop and is something he looks forward to every day. Since being introduced to working at Cup of Joe, Fitzpatrick got an internship at Coffee Shop in Fort Collins, Colorado which he is super excited about.  

When you walk into the classroom, it is hard to not crack a smile on your face. Filled with love and kindness, Cup of Joe is everything Robert Allen would have wanted.