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Business project brings students together

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ONALASKA, Wisconsin (WXOW)—Students at Onalaska High School joined together to open a coffee stand at the school.

It's called ‘Ona Java.' The coffee kiosk is a joint project between the entrepreneurship class and the special needs students.

"It's completely an inclusion project," said Bridgett Hubbard, the entrepreneurship teacher. "It's not where the entrepreneurship students developed the plan, but they're all working together when the store is open."

The project took months of collaboration between two groups who don't typically interact.

"At first there was some hesitation but now, it's really fun to see the students walk down the hall and acknowledge each other and know that they're working together on something that's a neat project," Hubbard said.

"I just met them [entrepreneurship students], and they're pretty cool to get along with," said freshman Olivia Hubbard.

"It's nice to get to know them more because they're awesome," said Maddie Arenz, a junior student in the entrepreneurship class.

And senior Caitlin McKnight says she's not just brewing coffee, but also confidence.

"I'm very shy and I don't know much people," Caitlin said.

Caitlin moved to Onalaska last year and says she was picked on at her old school, but now things are different.

"Everybody's like so friendly and respectful," Caitlin said. "Cause people know me for me instead of just teasing me for what I look like."

And while one goal of the project is to generate enough profit to sustain the stand, the students see the bigger picture.

"It's kind of a way to communicate," Olivia said.

And Caitlin agrees.

"It's the students getting together and knowing each other better than they did."

The hope is to keep the stand up and running for years to come.

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