Cooper Dlugos applies his morals into all aspects of life


If you ever find yourself at the Ada Village General Store, chances are you will find sophomore Cooper Dlugos on the opposite side of the service counter.

Throughout the summer and into the school year, Cooper has been working numerous shifts at the beloved shop in Ada. As he progresses and learns from his daily duties, Cooper is rapidly gaining knowledge about working and how to be a respectable, humble young man. 

This past summer, Cooper unfortunately found himself with a brief, nightmarish job at a local diner. After working a seemingly-endless 12-hour shift, Cooper found himself exhausted and desiring a more positive work environment. 

“I came out just drenched in dirty sink water and food,” Cooper said. “There was food everywhere on my clothes because I was preparing food and washing dishes. It was high pressurized hot water, so I cut my hands so many times too. That definitely wasn’t a good work experience for sure.” 

Not long after quitting his dreadful job at the diner, Cooper landed himself a position on the staff of the Ada Village General Store. Rather than tirelessly chopping potatoes for hours on end, Cooper soon found himself serving delicious treats and coffee alongside a group of truly pleasurable coworkers.  

“All of my coworkers are super friendly and super nice; I connect with them [so much],” Cooper said. “My manager is super forgiving, and she’s totally business-minded which is a really good thing. It’s really just a fun experience and a fun atmosphere.”

As Cooper spent nearly 20 hours per week at the store throughout the summer months, he was quickly able to find his way around the kitchen and all that it offers. He has learned how to make copious shakes, coffees, and espressos, and he continues to experiment in the kitchen throughout his different shifts. 

In the month of October, one of Cooper’s unique and original inventions even landed itself a place on the menu of the general store.

“I made a seasonal drink for Halloween called the Shakesfear, so it was pretty much just a milkshake I came up with,” Cooper said. “It had pumpkin spice ice cream, candy eyes, caramel, chocolate, peanut butter, whipped cream, and a topping of more chocolate. They ended up putting it on the menu which was really cool.” 

As Cooper was able to find true success with one of his concoctions, he hasn’t stopped experimenting with different flavors in his free time. 

“I keep on trying to experiment because I am pretty much a barista at this point,” Cooper said. “I know how to make coffee, so I keep trying to experiment with espresso. One time I made a peanut butter and jelly espresso, but that didn’t work out that well. I also made an apple cider espresso that I thought was pretty good, but nobody else did.”

Although not every experiment in the kitchen is a total success, Cooper is able to apply the knowledge he has acquired from his parents to overcome any challenges he may face. 

From the time Cooper was a young boy, his parents instilled crucial lessons of self-motivation into his mind. As he ages, Cooper holds these lessons close to his heart and doesn’t ever let his morals slip out of reach. 

“My parents always tell me to play for yourself and not for others,” Cooper said. “Do what you want to do, do it for yourself, and succeed for yourself—not for others. Don’t try to impress anyone, and just do it for you.”

Along with the important lessons of self-determination, Cooper values the qualities of those in which he chooses to surround himself with. 

After spending a brief amount of time as a student of the West Michigan Aviation Academy, Cooper decided to come back to Forest Hills where he is truly able to connect with people on a much more personal level. 

“The one reason I didn’t stay there was because I never really connected with anybody, and that is really important to me,” Cooper said. “I always have to make good friends that will last a lifetime and friends that will be with me forever.” 

One way Cooper has been able to build relationships with the people he admires most is through action sports including skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding. Introduced to surfing by his sister and skateboarding by friend Cam Dewitt, these unique sports are able to instill his morals even further into his mind. 

“People who I surround myself with will hopefully be the people who will do the right things,” Cooper said. “Those people being at my side will further my strength of not bearing in or giving into social norms and everything.”

Do what you want to do, do it for yourself, and succeed for yourself—not for others.”

Cooper’s numerous passions and successes have all been driven by his exorbitant amount of self-motivation. Along his life’s journey, Cooper has learned that in order to get the most out of life, there is simply one thing that can make all the difference: kindness. 

Whether it be in a simple compliment or a greater action, Cooper knows that the kindness, humanity, and sympathy that he has molded into his personality will allow him to be successful in whichever direction life may take him. 

“I’ve learned that the best things to do can take the least amount of effort,” Cooper said. “Just saying hello to people and being nice to people can be a huge thing. If you are nice to people, they will always be nice to you back.”