Coffee House inspires students

Kelly Gallagher

     Coffee House is a safe haven where students present their written compositions, poetry, music, photography and art. It meets every third Tuesday of each month.  Many students participate in order to display their talents to an audience and receive feedback for further improvement. Ms. Michelle Iskra, the AP English IV and ACC professor, sponsors the group by allowing them to meet in her room while also providing positive reinforcement for the students. Many kids bring in food and beverages to give a more comfortable feel to the whole situation.

     Coffee house started because students expressed their want to be able to show their talents to their peers.

     “Students came to me a few years ago who wanted to perform but didn’t have a venue and asked that I sponsor something after school,” Iskra said.

     Presenting a creative work to a group of peers can be very nerve racking for some but the club is great practice for the future. Coffee House offers a judgment-free environment to inspire creative expression. A unique quality of this performance forum is that everyone is welcome to come and go as they please. There is no membership requirement or fee to pay; just students with common interests getting together and sharing their passions with the world.

     “[I go because] I like to experience the artistic side of many of my fellow students,” Doug Duong, senior, said.

     Not all the students who show up present something. Many just sit back and enjoy two hours of art and literature. The high levels of skill some of the students possess tend to shock first time attendees.

     “It’s really cool to see how talented some of the students are. Some of the stories are so good it’s hard to believe that students came up with them,” Alisha Mehta, senior, said.

     Iskra shows her passion for her work by letting students explore their own dreams with the same amount of passion, and believes that Coffee House has influenced her students.

      “Kids who are otherwise not heard have a voice (literally). The poets who are not published, the artists with no galleries  have an audience and are able to get feedback [for their work],” Iskra said.

     Iskra also opened Coffee House because she is so passionate about writing and the opportunities it holds for those who embrace it.

      “[Writing] is one of the hardest things we do and most people don’t do it because it is so difficult. Writing diffuses emotions and allows a person to express themselves more concretely than just speaking,” Iskra said.

     Iskra encourages all students to come and enjoy what others have to offer because she believes it will enrich the lives of all students at Cedar Park. Many students have become each other’s biggest fans. The room fills up very quickly so being on time is essential. It’s a great organization to get kids to open up and share their talents with the world.