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  • WSF Staff

Grant Highlight: Waterloo Career Center Coffee Cart

For many years, Bailey Kestel, a junior at the Waterloo Career Center, dreamed of opening a coffee shop so she could spread her love for coffee and its magical nature with others. Throughout her time at the WCC, she began to notice the locational limits between the fourteen different high schools that attend. Many students have little to no access to coffee shops while on their way to the WCC - not to mention students who ride the bus where stopping is not an option. Bailey saw this as an opportunity to not only make her dreams come true but also eliminate barriers that many students faced when it came to getting a boost of caffeine in the morning. 


From her classes within the business pathway at the career center, Bailey knew that her ultimate goal was to create a sustainable revenue business that welcomes all students to the WCC. Wanting this to be beneficial for everyone, she decided that all profits after any expenses would go into a scholarship fund for seniors attending the Waterloo Career Center. When she brought up her idea to renovate an old, out-of-use convenience cart into a brand-new coffee cart, her instructors were ecstatic and in full support. Jill Shares, a business instructor at the WCC, jumped on board and helped Bailey secure a $3,000 grant from the Waterloo Schools Foundation. 

At the Foundation, we champion students and educators who have innovative ideas for the future of the Waterloo Schools. When Bailey applied for funding, we were buzzing with excitement about the opportunities this project would provide students in the WCC. As our values guide our funding, Bailey aligned perfectly with our value of innovation - she would be learning how to manage a business, all from the secure location of the WCC. Plus, Bailey would be hiring other students and ensuring the cart’s success as if she were a full-time business owner!

Bailey then teamed up with the construction, plumbing, and electrical pathways at the career center to give the cart a complete makeover and make it fully functional. “It took a lot of communication and patience,” Bailey said. 


Bailey would describe her family as coffee connoisseurs, and through their adventures, she has found one of her favorite local shops to be the Savvy Bean. She knew she couldn't do this project all on her own, so she reached out to Savannah Warren, the owner of Savvy Bean, to act as her mentor. Through hours of relentless training and hard work, Bailey and the cart were ready for action.

“The first couple weeks have had its highs and lows…I didn't know what to expect with these first few weeks, but so many moments have been gratifying for my heart as I see the cart succeed and bring joy to so many people.”

As only a junior in high school, Bailey is taking huge steps for her future, her entrepreneurial spirit, and her unique academic experience at the WCC. Projects like this align seamlessly with the mission and vision of the WSF - to fund, inspire, and promote educational opportunities AND be a catalyst for educational excellence.

Interested in expanding entrepreneurial experiences for WCC students? Learn more about our grants and how to support the Waterloo Schools.

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