Thanksgiving is when Americans take time to express gratitude. Denver high school student Hudson Janz, however, chose a day six months earlier to show his appreciation to the teachers at his school.
Janz, then a sophomore at Manual High School in northeast Denver, found a way to say thank you with a surprise twist. In advance of an all-staff meeting scheduled just before the end of the school year, Janz began collecting information for a survey he said he was conducting for a class project. Each teacher was asked to identify a favorite Starbucks beverage.
On the morning of the meeting, Janz and his parents fanned out to three nearby Starbucks® stores to purchase 67 drinks – one for each teacher and staff member surveyed.
Kellie Canet, store manager of the Colfax Avenue store where Janz showed up accompanied by his father, recalled having to come up with an on-the-fly game plan to prepare 30 drinks in 15 minutes. She also remembers being touched by the teen’s thoughtfulness and generosity.
“It was pretty inspiring,” Canet said. “He really had a profound sense of appreciation for the women and men in charge of his education.”
The 17-year-old picked up the full tab, paying for it with money he’d earned through a lawn-care service called Cutting 4 College that he formed with his brother and other classmates.
As the staff gathering wrapped up, Janz wheeled in a large cart containing the customized drinks. He also delivered a short speech expressing the appreciation Manual students felt for their teachers.
The event happened around the same time Nicholas Dawkins was meeting with school officials about filling the principal position at Manual. Dawkins, who ultimately accepted the position, said he first met Janz during the interview process.
“He was one of the kids who were making sure I was ready for the job and was coming in to do great work,” Dawkins said. “Now I’m enjoying collaborating with him, because he’s one of our top student leaders.
“It was fun for me as a principal coming in to learn about the really special things that the kids were doing. I just thought it was amazing.”
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