It all started with a single curse word. Then, sophomore Sandy Rivera Antunez was brought out to the hallway by English teacher Brian Auger, who had a conversation with her.
This led him to find out that her family owned donkeys at their ranch back in Honduras and even owned a coffee company. She led him to the company website when he asked if there was a way for him to order some coffee.
“I could hear how excited and proud she was as she showed me pictures of her family and people she knew,” Auger said.
After finding out, he immediately sent out an email to many of the teachers in the English department and other teachers that might possibly be interested. Several teachers bought coffee beans and mugs from the company.
Many of the teachers were also eager to support the family of a Southport student. Speech teacher Sarah Berghoff, journalism teacher Mike Klopfenstein and English teacher Sam Hanley were a few of the teachers who bought or tried the coffee. Many of the teachers who had tried the coffee had very positive reactions and said they enjoyed it.
“I thought it was good…,” Hanley said. “It had that not-too-over-roasted and not-too-burnt taste,” Hanley said.
The reason why the coffee made through Sandy’s family differs from American coffee is because her family’s coffee is washed and dried for weeks using a special drying machine. She said this gives the coffee “a better taste and a different aroma.”
When interviewed about the company, translated through junior Enzo Zavaleta, Sandy mentioned that her family’s non-profit coffee company, named Galana Coffee, was started by her grandfather Jose Lupario Antunez almost 30 years ago.
“It makes me feel good and really happy that teachers are supporting my grandfather’s business,” Sandy said.
Growing up, she was very close with her grandparents and especially her grandfather. She had been with her grandparents ever since she was born and would often go on long walks with them.
However, she was separated from her grandparents 3 years ago when she and her mother came to America for better opportunities. Due to this change being very sudden, she had to leave without the chance to say goodbye to her grandfather.
“I felt very sad when I left Honduras without saying goodbye to my grandfather. It hurt that I wasn’t able to see him the last few hours before I left,” Sandy said.
Her brother is staying in Mexico with her father because her parents are separated, while her other brother is being taken care of by other family members in Honduras.
One of her cousins, Elan Murillo Antunez, recently moved to the U.S. around 5 months ago. Sandy had known him since they were kids and that they used to study together.
He used to help out with the coffee company before he came to America. He said he worked on the farms and harvested the coffee from its plant and cut them up to be grinded into coffee.
“I feel good about (being about to help my family),” Murillo Antunez said.
Moving forward, Sandy would like to go to college in America and become a doctor. She would like to eventually return to Honduras to help run her grandfather’s company after earning her degree.
Due to the possible challenges that might come with juggling being a doctor and running the business, she does not plan to run the company alone. She, along with some of her other relatives, would work together to continue her grandfather’s company.
She works hard, although she still struggles to speak English, to get an education in America to be able to help her family in Honduras.
“It’s very confusing but I’m adjusting a bit more everyday,” Sandy said.