Brewing Goodness


3 August, 2023


Volunteering and being part of a community can provide an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, make new friends and develop meaningful connections. It can also bring a sense of belonging and connectedness.

We are fortunate to have people like Carley and Luke who regularly volunteer at Coffee@Laneway and others who support College events and return to the College to speak with our students about business and experiences.

There are countless opportunities available, donating time or resources or speaking to our students. If you haven’t already, please consider volunteering your time to help your College community.


Carley Whatley has been involved with Scotch Oakburn College for almost a decade with three children at the College.  She first became involved with Coffee@Laneway in 2019 and liked the idea of getting behind the coffee machine and “back on the tools”. Luke Dempsey became part of the Scotch Oakburn Community in 2017 when his children Maeve and Oliver started at the school.

Working in hospitality for most of his life, Luke had a pretty good idea on how to operate a coffee machine and saw it as a great opportunity to pass on his expertise and connect with the College community.

What is your favourite thing about being involved?

Luke: The social aspect of Laneway is great, getting to meet other parents, College staff and students.  As Laneway evolved over the years, the students have become more involved in the coffee service. Getting to teach some of the Year 5s how to make a coffee was very special. I was never going to make much of a teacher, so it was nice to pass on a small amount knowledge.

Carley: Seeing how happy my kids were to see me helping at school sealed the deal. I’m probably at risk 0f sounding vacuous but it does make you feel popular; the element of celebrity when my kids spot me there. Big smiles and a wave. You’ve got to lap that up when the kids are little, it does pass.

What does community mean to you?

Carley: I have met some of my closest friends through the school. Many of these new friends don’t have family nearby and speaking with them has made me aware how important the connections are. That’s what community is to me.

What makes the community at Scotch Oakburn so special?

Luke: The diversity of the community at Scotch Oakburn is what makes it so special. It is wonderful for families from all corners of the globe to get together to share in our children’s learning, either in the classroom or through one of the many social events.

Why is Coffee@Laneway beneficial for parents?

Luke: Coffee@Laneway is a great way for parents to catch up and get to know each other in a chilled, casual setting. It’s the perfect icebreaker to set up the next playdate. In my experience, I have also made new business contacts over a Laneway cuppa. Winner, winner!!

Carley: It is a fantastic reason to come and mingle on campus. Caffeine is beneficial for parents in my opinion – it’s joy in a cup.

What is your favourite memory of your time with Coffee@Laneway?

Luke: My favourite memory was teaching an enthusiastic Year 5 student how to pour the perfect shot of coffee! This student was super keen to learn and I was blown away by how quickly they picked it up. It was very cool to see.

What does Coffee@ Laneway teach the students?

Carley: There is a lot of incidental learning going on. From interacting with customers, taking orders, writing on cups, dealing with payment and being hands-on with the coffee making. The kids
really enjoy helping and it’s fun having them there.