Being a high school student is difficult. High school consists of tests, extracurricular activities, late nights completing homework and a lack of sleep or time to spend with friends. Near Southern Huntingdon County High/Middle School, a coffee shop has recently opened to provide students with a caffeine boost to get them through the school day and a place to socialize with their friends.
Jenkie’s Joint, owned by SHC graduate Eric Jenkins, opened Dec. 17, 2018. The café/laundromat is popular among students before school for coffee or breakfast. The café sells a variety of drinks from regular hot coffee to iced-flavored coffee, as well as a variety of sandwiches including a turkey, pear, and provolone panini and a ham, cheddar, and apple panini. There are also daily featured specials.
In the small area of Orbisonia, the café adds a great deal to the community. It adds a different type of food not found at any other local restaurants and offers students a place to meet to do homework with free wifi while enjoying food and drink. The welcoming atmosphere paired with the delicious food reels students in daily.
“We don’t have anywhere around here to get coffee or a good nutritious breakfast. It’s really convenient every morning to get your coffee. Also, Jenkins isn’t just the coffee shop owner, he supports the community. He purchased the girls’ basketball team Jenkie’s Joint shirts and showed up to basketball games to support us. After late-night games, it was nice to get a wake-up drink from Jenkie’s,” stated junior basketball player Mykia Garner.
The support Jenkie’s Joint gives the school can also be found on the mural at the back of the building painted by local artist Rebecca Reck. The painting showcases many of SHCs most popular influences, including Phil Speck, Larry Steele, Ryan Garlock and Todd Cornelius.
Jenkins stated, “The mural was a combination of ideas. First, I wanted to recognize some people who have served our community for decades. Speck and Steele have taught at dear old SHC for many years and have both touched many students’ lives in the classroom and in sports. Garlock has coached football for 20-plus years on the peewee and varsity level. Finally, Cornelius, the voice of Rocket football is a dear friend who coached t-ball, little league and basketball as well.” The mural also includes other references to SHC, like the Rocket logo.
The cafe also benefits students of SHC by serving as an employment option. Zane Reck is a student of SHC and of the culinary arts at the Huntingdon County Career and Technology Center (HCCTC). Reck is practicing the skills he has learned at HCCTC at Jenkie’s while preparing food for the next day and cutting meats and veggies at Jenkie’s Joint. “I would say that my favorite part about working at Jenkie’s is gaining more experience in cooking and even learning how to run a business,” mentioned Z. Reck.
Jenkins concluded, “We add something different. Our food is different. Our coffee is different. Our service is different. Our art is different. Our business is different. I want to show that it is OK to be different.” Jenkie’s Joint has affected student life in several ways since its opening in December, from providing a way for students to get a “pick me up” before school to support from the café owner.