A weekend of studying for the SAT inspired Rajat Bhageria, a 2014 Sycamore High School graduate, to brew up a new social network. He realized the test didn’t express his friends’ writing abilities and that they needed an outlet.
In January 2014, Bhageria launched CaféMocha, an online social network allowing high school students to publish and share their creative works while encouraging others to follow their interests. CafeMocha.org is the only resource on the Internet developed for high school students to share writing.
“I used the principle that a café was used to discuss, publish and share innovative ideas,” says the 17 year old, who came up with CaféMocha because European thinkers during the Enlightenment met in cafés.
On the web site, students submit their creative essays, stories and poetry—without the fear of being graded—on various topics that are grouped into “mochas” or categories, such as non-fiction or chemistry. Users can comment and provide constructive criticism.
Since CafeMocha.org went live, it has had 30,000 page views per month and is continuing to grow. It’s also received positive feedback from teachers and writing experts.
“The main goal is to find professionals and sponsors who will help students by reading their essays and perhaps even recruiting them to publish professionally,” Bhageria says.