North Coffeehouse serves up poetry and music on Friday night


Mr. Edmond’s creative writing class prepares for the Coffee House.

Picture this: it’s the end of a long and tedious week, and the glistening freedom of Friday is fresh on every student’s brain, and the only problem with this is the lack of a plan to take advantage of the evening. Consider this: there’s a school-sanctioned event at a local student hotspot with music, poetry, and laughs to be shared.

Friday, Feb. 3, from 6 to 9 p.m., Student Council, with the assistance of Mrs. Milheiser, will be running the annual North Coffeehouse at Copper Rock in downtown Appleton. Charles Wu will be the emcee for the night.

Students are invited to share poetry, whether it be their own or another author. Student Council will be making baked goods, board games will be available, and there will be discounts on coffee; the cost of the event is covered by the student organization.

This year, students can expect more musical performances, and a new comedy performance. This year’s performances include an act by Improvedy, a new freshmen band — Unorthodox Shoebox – and several solos and duets by talented artists here at North.

“I’m glad I’m finally making it to the coffeehouse this year, because it’s a really good opportunity to show off your work outside of school in a comfortable setting. I didn’t sign up to present anything, but I figured that I’ll bring a couple of my poems along and see if there’s time to read them,” said Skye Iwanski, a senior with an avid interest in creative writing.

All proceeds will go to the MS Foundation, and the donations will assist meeting the needs with those living with multiple sclerosis. Two years ago, the mother of former Student Council member, Weston Floerke, who is affected by MS, spoke at the North Coffeehouse and educated the audience how it affected her and her family. She made bracelets and sold them, to donate the funds for the MS Foundation.

“Student Council is also fortunate to be able to make the event free, unlike previous years, due to Mrs. Milheiser’s kindness,” Senior Student Council member Anna Olson said.

Mrs. Milheiser believes this is a good North experience for those who do not have many activities. On the Coffeehouse, she said, “I enjoy it, because I see students that I might not see in the library or see a new side to them outside of school. In a more relaxed environment, to support their learning outside of school and getting to talk to them.”

Student Council member Kalen Klitzke agreed: “The message is that our school is filled with talent, and Coffeehouse is a perfect way to exhibit our students’ talents.”

“Poetry is another  genre of literature that allows people to express themselves in a format that is unlike others. I think poetry is very thought provoking and gets people to talk about difficult things. Poetry is a way to celebrate a lifetime. It can create a vast range of emotions. It is  a vehicle for people with different opinions to respect other’s viewpoints. Poetry is a way to let words spill on paper, take the spilled words and make it into something,” Mrs. Milheiser said.

The North Coffeehouse existed since North High School was built in 1995 and changes have been made through these past twenty-two years.

And through the years running this event, the organizers have smoothed out the major challenges that affected attendance.  Student Council has chosen a day that doesn’t conflict with other major activities at North, and unlike previous years, there’s no cost of admissions. Mrs. Milheiser will instead be using student’s library fines as a substitution for a fee.

According to Mrs. Berlowski, “It was only acoustic bands playing. We would set up cushions and bean bags, have baked goods, and we made our own coffee. To have the North Coffeehouse at Copper Rock started four years ago. Student Council thought there would be a better attendance rate if it were an outside of school site.”

If you are not interested in sharing poetry or performing, students are encouraged to attend to have a good time with friends and it’s for a good cause. Downtown Copper Rock is located at 210 W. College Ave., Appleton.

Milheiser knows the anxiety that most students have about sharing their work in front of a room full of their peers, but she ensures that the North Coffeehouse is a safe place for all students – even students who attend another high school in the area — to show off their talents.

“Just go for it, or else you’ll regret it. You’ll always be thinking about what would have happened if you ever did it,” said Josh Agius, the Student Council sophomore co-president. “People who were to judge wouldn’t come to something like this.”