WEST HAVEN, (WTNH) — It’s not your typical coffee shop; it’s about more than just serving up a delicious cup of joe!

“I couldn’t get any internships out in the community for our students like I wanted to, so I had to find something in-house that our students could do,” Carissa Anastasio, special education teacher at West Haven High School, said.

Anastasio has been the special education teacher at WHHS for nine years, noting that she loves “to show our students they can be successful just like their peers.” She wanted to help them acquire life skills to become independent and “decided that a coffee shop may be a good idea.”

It’s a win-win, as students like William Lopes are receiving hands-on learning skills, while teachers get a deep discount with coffee costing just $1 a cup!

“I made coffee for the first time ever, I never made coffee in my entire life,” Lopes said. “My dad works at a bakery, I try to do the stuff I need to do to get that job.”

Each coffee is served with a whole lot of meaning, and WHHS senior Devon Nichols is an example of that.

“It actually helped me with my communication skills cause I used to be a huge stutterer when I was little and I used to be scared to talk to people because of it, and nowadays I’m more confident,” Nichols said.

The students and their success make Anastasio proud.

Half of the money raised goes towards field trips for the students and the other 50% goes towards supplies. 

Anastasio said Omar Coffee in Newington helped set up the classroom coffee shop at the beginning of the school year and continues to give them a discount so they can keep running.