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Service with a smile

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By Brad Bowman

Eminence Senior Shelby Gordon greets teachers and staff every morning with her coffee cart.

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She makes coffee and sells it by the cup with other things like muffins, soda and tea. Gordon showed an interest in the hospitality aspect of the job where she learns career ready skills like accounting. Gordon smiles as she travels down the hall with speed and enthusiasm to each classroom.  She keeps track of every item sold, writing it down in a ledger. Gordon exudes confidence as she makes change not just for a customer, but herself.

“I like what I do. I like fixing everyone coffee,” she said.

When asked by Special Education Director Regina Wallace what the director’s usual drink is Gordon immediately responds.

“A large coffee with three French vanilla creamers,” Gordon said.

Gordon learns life and career skills through the Project Discovery Program where students do career exploration in up to 10 different career areas, according to Tonie Moore, a 14-year Eminence Special Education teacher. For Moore, it’s not just about career readiness but also about confidence.

“It means my job has been accomplished,” Moore said. “I hope it teaches not just a job skill after high school but also gives them confidence to be independent and I’ve helped them accomplish things they haven’t done before.”

As part of an idea Eminence Assistant Principal Donna McClamroch had during a visit to Dixie Heights High School in Fort Mitchell where she witnessed a coffee cart in action, McClamroch and Moore collaborated to make it an implement for students learning life and career skills. Gordon immediately took an interest in the coffee cart as part of a career exploration in the food industry.

At home Gordon enjoys cooking just about anything.

“But I love hot dogs with cheese,” Gordon said. “I like catch up math in school, playing games on my Game Cube and the Wii.”

Gordon has two dogs named Bruiser and Little Bit. She loves any kind of music: country or bands like AC/DC.

“I want to work at Sun Tan City,” Gordon said. “I like tanning.”

Gordon has been a student at Eminence Independent Schools since the seventh grade. She recently celebrated her 18th birthday. WHAS Crusade for Children recognized Shelby as a 2012 Crusade kid. The television station interviewed Gordon and gave her a photo shoot. Gordon is one of Eminence’s 83 special needs students who will, after graduation, attend job training programs in resource centers like Carl D. Perkins Vocational School in Paintsville, Moore and Wallace said.

“Our students are also in the mainstream population and classrooms,” Wallace said. “Each student has their own individual education program based on their needs.”

E-mail us about this article at news@hclocal.com