Seniors Love Starbucks (and More)


Photo by Emma DiNicola

An empty Starbucks holiday cup sits on the table on the senior balcony. The town Starbucks is open from 5am to 3pm daily and sees students purchasing coffee at all hours of the day. “I feel like more people get addicted to coffee during the holidays with the cute cups and everything,” senior Hailey Kessler said.

Seniors are notorious for returning from study periods toting lattes, refreshers, frappuccinos, or other caffeinated beverages. A common cause of this coffee acquisition is the freedom granted by upperclassmen privileges.

These privileges, coined “priv,” are granted to juniors in their second semester and seniors throughout the year. Provided that they meet certain requirements, they are allowed to leave the school during study periods. Many students use these privileges to get lunch or a snack, and the most common item brought back is coffee.

“I love being able to get snacks and drinks during studies,” senior Owen Fitzpatrick said.

Campus aide Devorah Ziegler works in the booth by the main entrance and witnesses nearly all school traffic.

“I would say a majority of seniors with privileges leave during studies from what I see. I definitely notice a lot of students leave and come back with coffees and drinks from Starbucks and Dunkin’ too,” she said.

Another campus aide, Tracy Ferreira, pointed out the number of students that leave and return with a caffeinated treat.

“I notice about half of the seniors leave and come back with coffees or some sort of a drink. It’s all year long too, both semesters,” she said.

Photo: Dunkin' Holiday Coffee Display
The Hopkinton Dunkin’ displays their holiday blend coffees as the winter rapidly approaches. Both Dunkin’ and Starbucks have begun advertising for the holiday season as it gets closer to Thanksgiving break. “I like the pink packaging—it reminds me of candy canes,” senior Morgan Burnie said. (Photo by Emma DiNicola)

A likely cause of this high level of coffee consumption is the proximity of three popular coffee-serving establishments to the school.

“We do have a Starbucks in town, which makes it convenient. Also, [there is] a Dunkin’ close by and the Muffin House Cafe as well,” Ziegler said.

The popularity of coffee trips during studies raises the question of increased caffeine dependency rates. Senior Gabby Semanduyev commented on the amount of coffee-dependent students in her classes.

“Personally, I’m not really dependent on coffee, but I do know a few people who are. Pretty much everyone I know walks into class late with coffee sometimes,” Semanduyev said.

Photo: Empty Coffee Cups Discarded in the Bin
Empty cups fill up the recycling bins fast. (Photo by Emma DiNicola)

The dozens of cups getting tossed out hourly aren’t exactly environmentally conscious either.

“I wonder how much plastic our school wastes with Starbs and Dunkin’ drinks,” senior Morgan Burnie said.

Outside of town, coffee isn’t as much of a schoolday staple. Few other districts grant juniors and seniors these privileges the way ours does.

“Students at HHS probably have a higher dependency on these caffeinated beverages just because they have more freedom to access them,” Ferreria said, “At the other high school I worked at, they are not allowed to leave the school, so if they didn’t come with it in the morning, they cannot get it during the day.”

Photo: Dunkin' Snacks and Drinks are Brought Back to School
Hopkinton students return from a study with Dunkin’. (Photo by Emma DiNicola)

Connor Cashman, a junior at Westborough High School, described how different his school’s study periods are.

“We just do not get free study periods at Westborough. We’re not allowed to leave the school during the day, at all, for whatever reason. It’s not fun,” he said.

Despite being confined to the campus from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM, the WHS students find ways to get caffeine into the day.

“Celsius is pretty popular. Coffee is pretty popular too, especially with athletes. You see a lot of kids bringing it into their first period since you can’t get it throughout the day,” Cashman said.

“Those drinks aren’t cheap,” Ferreria said. “So when you’re spending five, six dollars on a drink, it’s a definitely luxury. Not sure if [the students] know it’s a luxury.”