Coffeehouse Cancelled by Media Specialists With No Plans for it to Return


Credit to Michaela Manfull

Live coffeehouse artwork painted by Lindsey Usry and Alex Brinovec during Coffeehouse is displayed in the Learning Commons

By Michaela Manfull and Hope Moseley

After 19 years, a Howell North tradition comes to an end, Coffeehouse. Coffeehouse started as an open-mic, featuring students who would audition and perform acts such as singing, spoken word poetry, monologues and more. The Learning Commons has been hosting Coffeehouse, where English classes would watch the performances over two days while being provided with a choice of hot chocolate or coffee and cookies. Other classes would often watch the live stream of Coffeehouse.

“I’ve always liked any time that kids get a chance to just look at other kids’ talents,” English teacher Lindsey Scheller said. “You don’t even realize how talented your classmates are because you don’t get a chance to see them in that role.”

Coffeehouse was enjoyed by many and was always looked forward to. Over the past five years, though, interest declined. Then the pandemic hit, and putting hundreds of kids into one room was not ideal. The media specialists tried to put together a live stream of Coffeehouse, but it didn’t draw much attention. This solidified the decision not to bring it back this year.

“Based on the last time we had it, that we couldn’t get enough interest for two days, it seemed like it was already kind of phasing out,” Media specialist Tara Willen said.

Since Coffeehouse has been canceled, Willen has not heard any questions about Coffeehouse auditions or performance dates. Freshmen and sophomores who have never experienced this tradition don’t know much about it. Overall, there has been no interest or concern regarding Coffeehouse.

“Even the upperclassmen who did witness Coffeehouse, when they’re not asking about it, then it kind of tells me that their focus has shifted,” Willen said. “It doesn’t have that same nostalgia for our student body that it used to.”

Coffeehouse is not expected to come back at all, but some think this is an opportunity for something new to come in and take its place.

“It makes me sad, but then I also think that’s what we wanted it to be, what the students wanted,” Willen said.”And so if the students don’t want it, for whatever reason, then we need to kind of shift to ‘Well, what are our students passionate about right now and how can we facilitate that in this building?’”