It’s a tradition that Francis Howell North (FHN) High School students look forward to every February - the North Street Coffeehouse. Now in its thirteenth year, the Coffeehouse is an opportunity for FHN students to highlight their talent in music, poetry, and art.
Organizers transform a corner of the school learning commons into a "coffeehouse," complete with hanging art and gallons of brewed java and hot cocoa. The atmosphere is reminiscent of a beatnik-era coffeehouse, where performances earned snaps, instead of claps. Performances take place every hour throughout the school day, and students have the opportunity to visit the learning commons to view the performances during their scheduled communication arts classes.
The Coffeehouse is one way FHN Library Media Specialist Angie Davis engages students in a library setting. She says the Coffeehouse shows students that the learning commons can be a fun place. “Since FHN doesn’t have a talent show, the Coffeehouse gives our kids an outlet to perform and express their creativity,” said Davis. “It’s just a great opportunity to get kids to the learning commons and to celebrate art, music and the spoken word.”
Each year about 30-50 students audition to perform at the Coffeehouse. Typically, 12 poetry/spoken word performers and 12 music acts are selected to perform over two days. Students also have the opportunity to display artwork or sign up to be a live artist.
“Coffeehouse has been one of the best experiences of high school,” said FHN Senior and regular Coffeehouse performer Dan Borrelli. “It’s really exciting to see people who wouldn’t normally come out and perform in front of a lot of people, have the confidence to read, speak, and perform in ways that they never have before.”
The North Street Coffeehouse truly shows students that art and expression can speak wonders. Click here to watch this year’s performances recorded live by FHNToday.com.