DECA and Kadet Coffee vs COVID-19

Kadet Coffee is a big thing here at Air Academy High School, as everyone knows. The students running Kadet Coffee are trained to provide students with an affordable coffee shop here at AAHS. But what goes on behind the scenes of Kadet Coffee?

Kadet Coffee is a business at AAHS run by students enrolled in the DECA program, which is a class that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. Sure, DECA and Kadet Coffee may be thriving now, but what was it like during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

“It was definitely hard for Kadet Coffe because we couldn’t sell any of our hand-crafted drinks,” senior officer Paige Uebelhoer expressed. 

Kadet Coffee went through a trough after COVID-19 hit, but much was learned from the hardships that came along with that. Since they could not sell their regular drinks due to COVID-19 restrictions, they had to resort to pre-packaged food and drink products, such as Peace Teas, Dunkin Donuts drinks, and gum.

This made it much more challenging to profit from that since students had been so used to the hand-crafted Kadet Coffee drinks and were not purchasing as much from the shop. But Kadet Coffee is not the only thing students in DECA participate in since they also participate in competitions all around Colorado. So how did the pandemic influence students in this part of DECA? 

Junior Trey Nohrenberg patiently waiting to take students’ orders at KC2.


“It made it difficult not being able to actually do our roleplay in front of a judge and not getting feedback on what you did right and wrong,“ senior officer Alex Gales stated.

The pandemic affected them and their performance in their contests tested Gales and many other new DECA members, who said it was “awkward” to sit in their rooms and hit record to submit their roleplays to the judges. The inability to receive feedback made improvement more challenging.

Due to their inexperience with face-to-face interaction, some students would qualify for state during the pandemic, but would not qualify the following year when the outbreak was over and roleplays were conducted in person. Sure, this impacted the students tremendously, but what about the DECA teachers?


“So the advantage with submitting a video instead of face-to-face interaction was you had some time to make your video, but the disadvantage was you lost that whole interpersonal connection,” DECA teacher, Lindsay Bornhofen, explained.

Bornhofen, commonly referred to as Mrs. B amongst students, explained how the COVID year was different for her because it was her first year teaching. She explained how due to the pandemic, teaching was more problematic because she felt like she was just talking to a bunch of black screens, making it harder to engage and really teach the students to succeed.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone in various ways, but there are lessons to be learned through it all. For the AAHS DECA program specifically, it affected their profit from Kadet Coffee and their student’s performance at competitions. However, this showed participating students and teachers that they were capable of more than they thought and taught them so many lessons. Needless to say, everyone at AAHS is so excited Kadet Coffee is back and better than ever!