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‘Unicorn Cafe’ Serves up Inclusion in Vt. Middle School

The business helps students with special needs develop important skills.

An educational business inside a Vermont middle school is drawing applause from community members for its work with students with special needs.

"We try our best," beamed Phoebe Beaupre, a student at Edmunds Middle School who works at the Unicorn Café. "It's just amazing to be with other people with disabilities."

At the Unicorn Café, math skills meet language and occupational therapy. Students write advertising copy, make change, and keep things fresh by spinning a prize wheel to set discounts.

"I work on getting to know people better," said Mayele Coimin, another Unicorn Café student staffer.

Special educator Ann Gatch told necn the Unicorn Café aims to show young people what’s possible through teamwork, and spark their curiosity about jobs — and maybe having one when they're older.

"I think we all are unicorns, right?" Gatch asked rhetorically. "Because you just have to believe. And if you believe, magic happens."

Technology teacher Eric Schoembs is a regular.

"[The Unicorn Café] really gives the students an opportunity to shine," Schoembs observed.

With the academic year winding down, so will the Unicorn Café. Gatch said she's proud of her student staffers for how hard they've worked, especially on improving communications with customers.

Those students are proud to have been a part of the Unicorn Café: where inclusion's always on the menu.

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