Central’s Caffeinated Cobblers

Is caffeine Central High School’s biggest addiction? An anecdotal survey of Cobblers suggests it may be so.

By Gracie Lemer and Talon Tippmann

Most people across the world consume caffeine regardless of age or culture, and students and teachers at Central High School are no different. Among all students and teachers at Central, it is easy to find those who consume at least a little caffeine throughout their day, with some people addicted to the substance.

With the levels of addiction varying depending on the person, the main division of people was seen through their levels of withdrawals if they don’t have caffeine throughout the day. Many students say that they don’t experience any symptoms of withdrawal. These students don’t use caffeine as a way to get through the day, but as something to drink that isn’t water. Hunter Hammerbeck, a senior at Central High School, says she doesn’t depend on caffeine to get through the day, but she thinks of caffeine as a “fun alternative to water.” Hunter says that she usually drinks at least a cup of coffee every day but would be fine if she didn’t drink anything.

Another senior at Central also has a similar experience with caffeine. Sumner Griffin told us that he has tea when he wakes up and coffee about mid-morning. If he doesn’t have any caffeine, he doesn’t suffer any withdrawal and doesn’t “notice a difference in performance.”

Caffeine has also been seen as a way that people resolve headaches or stress after a long day. Kyla Pederson, a senior at Central, said she “typically drinks pop but sometimes coffee,” and she doesn’t think she depends on it “to get through the day, but I think it helps.” A teacher at Central also reported a similar use of caffeine. Brynn Birkeland, a Math 3 teacher, said she doesn’t experience withdrawals but will reward herself after a long day of distance teaching with a large vanilla Coke from Sonic.

“The smell and taste of it makes me want to upheave,” says Liam Porter.

While most people will enjoy a cup of coffee just for the taste, some people wouldn’t go near a cup if you paid them. Liam Porter, a senior at Central, is one of those people. “I do not like coffee at all,” he said. “The smell and taste of it makes me want to upheave.” With his aversion to coffee, Liam relies on black tea and pop to give him his caffeine when he feels like he needs it.

While most people don’t experience withdrawals, a minority of people are not as fortunate. It was found that a smaller percentage of people suffer withdrawals all day if they don’t at least have a cup of coffee in the morning. Among those talked to, caffeine withdrawal symptoms include non-stop headaches, fatigue, and even irritability. Geoffrey Sheehy, an English teacher and AP composition teacher, told us that he even stopped drinking caffeinated beverages as a result of how unpleasant the withdrawals were. Mr. Sheehy now drinks decaf coffee because of his affinity for coffee’s taste and aroma.

While Mr. Sheehy stopped consuming caffeine because of his disdain for the effects and withdrawals of the substance, a few people continue to ingest caffeine despite experiencing unpleasant withdrawals. One such person was Brian Hageman, Central’s Astronomy teacher and an AP Physics teacher. Despite feeling irritable and suffering from bad headaches without caffeine, he continues to consume it. Coffee, out of all caffeine sources, is his biggest addiction. “Coffee has shaped nations and landed men on the moon,” he said. “You should never trust a person who does not drink coffee, they either have done or plan to do unspeakable things.”

Even the two co-writers of this story consume caffeine, but of two very different extremes. Gracie Lemer, a senior, only drinks caffeine as a treat or as a way to relieve a headache or stress. She doesn’t enjoy pop, so she turns to coffee or iced tea as a way to consume caffeine. In the opposite fashion of her co-writer, she doesn’t experience withdrawals if she goes a day without caffeine.

“Coffee is the most divine nectar ever bestowed by the universe upon our unworthy species,” says Mr. Hageman.

Talon Tippmann, also a senior, takes caffeine to the absolute extreme. Talon drinks at least a cup of coffee in the morning and drinks at least an energy drink or two throughout the school day. He even consumes a cup of coffee or tea before heading to bed, otherwise he “wakes up in the middle of the night with a headache.” Alongside headaches, Talon experiences extreme fatigue and irritability when he doesn’t consume caffeine, making it hard for him to get through his day. In fact, the only way he can relieve himself of the headaches or tiredness is through caffeine, as even painkillers like Tylenol or Ibuprofen prove to be useless.

While there are many variations of caffeine and amounts that it is consumed in, it is common for Cobblers to consume at least a little caffeine throughout their day. Most of the time, consuming caffeinated drinks doesn’t have repercussions on people, but in some rare cases, people have to rely on caffeine to function. Of all sources of caffeine, however, coffee is the most widespread and beloved. In the words of Mr. Hageman, “Coffee is the most divine nectar ever bestowed by the universe upon our unworthy species, a naturally occurring stimulant that makes you a superior version of yourself.”

Header image: “Coffee Time” by ninfaj on Flickr