Virtual Coffeehouse: Like Heaven on Earth


On Friday, May 8, the last Coffeehouse of the 2019-2020 school year lived up to its mission: to create a safe and comfortable atmosphere where members of the Poly community (students and teachers alike) can share their talents and passions. Led by Ms. Sarah Whalen, Coffeehouse encourages the Poly Prep High School community to build upon two of the most valuable characteristics of any community- love and peace. Although we could not gather in one place to enjoy chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate, the perseverance of Coffeehouse proves that unity is about being in the same place in our hearts and minds, rather than physically. In a time like this, the Poly community needs hope and support more than ever. 

In regards to Coffeehouse’s last event of the school year, Ms.Whalen’s said, “all of us were made aware of just how badly we miss each other, and how much we desperately need this kind of loving, supportive community.” 

The virtual Coffeehouse was an example of an event that truly cannot be explained, but must be experienced. The atmosphere was complete with love, support, and lots of jazz hands from friends and teachers. Senior Austin Somers, who has hosted Coffeehouse events from its beginning, started with a heartwarming note, stating that it was his last Coffeehouse, and shared his gratitude for the experience. Somers soon set everyone in a cheerful mood with a background from a Michael Bublé concert. From there, it became history. 

From heavenly voices and skillful music to relaxing poetry and featured comedy, Virtual Coffeehouse was an unforgettable event. 

As Austin said, “I think a virtual Coffeehouse was just what everyone needed to add a little bit of normalcy to our lives. The fact that we had a combo of great pre-recorded acts (which are online!) and live acts added even more to the whole day because those who couldn’t perform live were still able to showcase their talents. Even though it is a shame we are finishing our school years online, I had so much fun hosting and definitely felt our little community come together again. It was great to see and was a fine way to help close out the year!”

We all need people around us to support, encourage, and love. Although the Virtual Coffeehouse event has already passed, the virtual Coffeehouse Collection continues to be the home of a variety of works by students and faculty. It is amazing to know that the Poly Community continues to cherish the connections we have with one another amid the pandemic. 

Ms. Whalen said, “I’m just so thrilled that Coffeehouse turned out so well. We had 85 people in that Zoom! I saw people smiling, dancing, crying, laughing, and the outpouring of love was just tremendous.” The legacy of Virtual Coffeehouse will live on, even as the Poly community continues to cherish one another’s love, company, and support in this difficult time. As we continue to grow in the spirit of Coffeehouse, we anticipate more opportunities to laugh and cry together in future Coffeehouse events.