Big Wins for Vocational Workshop, Java Lounge

By JULIA WEBB ‘22

This year, Digitability, a work-readiness program, hosted a “Work Simulation Contest”, in which the students who run Edison High School’s Java Lounge and Vocational Workshop took part. The contest included having the students make websites to both promote their services and learn important technological job skills. Not only did the Java Lounge website win the First Place Grand Prize and the Vocational Workshop website win the “Big Business Award”, but Edison Township was declared “Most Awarded School District” as a result of these two major wins. 

“I loved to work with all my classmates and create a wonderful website for Java Lounge at my high school Edison High, which is like my second home,” said Alyssa Harkay ‘21.

Kristen Reyes ‘21 said, “I am also very proud of this big achievement that we won this contest.” 

Java Lounge is a student-run coffee house, providing food and beverages to students and staff. The students running Java Lounge get the experience of working as a manager, barista, cashier, and greeter, among other important roles. Stocking for the Java Lounge also includes students communicating with local vendors. The new website they have created for the Digitability Contest will allow them to take online orders in the next school year. 

The homepage of Java Lounge’s new website. 
Photo credit: Java Lounge

The Vocational Workshop, otherwise known as the Eagle Express, allows the students to perfect job skills by selling various items and helping teachers around the district. These include retail skills, computer skills, and data entry. Students have handmade and sold seasonal wreaths, chocolate-covered Oreo cookies, and gift-wrapped presents for the holidays.  

The new website for the Eagle Express will, like Java Lounge, allow them to take online orders in the next school year, as well as further advertise their hard work. The money raised from both of these services goes into funding future opportunities for the students, such as field trips and workshops.

The homepage of the Eagle Express’s new website.
Photo credit

Even with these wins, the students value the lessons they have learned. 

“I’ve learned that I should be nice to people and work as a team,” said Avinash Sharma ‘21 

Jinyang Huang ‘21 now knows, “how good it is to understand what I have to learn about how to communicate with other people.” 

The teacher advisers for both programs also took great pride in the Digitability Contest win. Mr. Russell Schwartz said that even just the application process allowed students to learn “key concepts about how to use the Internet, the Google Toolbox, among other forms of technology.” 

Ms. Lauren Alvarez, another of the advisers, said, “We didn’t expect to win the competition when we started it, but the fact that we did makes the entire experience that much more rewarding! I am happy that my students are able to create something that they can be proud of!” 

Mr. Schwartz shared in this pride. “We could not be prouder,” he said. “They all shared their suggestions as to what could be added to the website, and worked together to try and get each of their ideas into the website in a useful way.”

The Digitability Contest is not where the students’ achievements end, however. 

“Students are definitely excited to continue to improve their website,” said Mr. Schwartz, “as a new way to not only demonstrate the skills they are learning in the workshop, but also provide the services to everyone.” 

Both teachers advise the student body to stay on the lookout for various new accomplishments from their students in the future. 

“You never know what new ideas we will come up with!” said Alvarez.