State High’s Purple Project Collaborates with TeaFé

Purple Project lead Sarah Ocampo and student Jenny Heim laugh while enjoying the drink.
Purple Project lead Sarah Ocampo and student Jenny Heim laugh while enjoying the drink.
Emma Kahler

From November 1-5, State High’s Purple Project had a collaboration with local business TeaFé. During these five days, TeaFé sold a limited edition drink and mochi doughnut.

The Purple Project drink after being fully stirred. Photo courtesy of Sarah Ocampo. (Sarah Ocampo)

The drink was flavored lychee with butterfly pea powder, served in a special cup created specifically for the Purple Project. Additionally, the drink had purple glitter and was presented in a way so it had to be stirred to reveal the purple color. The mochi doughnut featured vanilla frosting, topped with purple sprinkles and coconut shavings. 

Owner Minh Vuong didn’t expect the collaboration when he was first introduced to the idea. 

“I was actually surprised, I was not expecting it. Sarah just came up to me and kind of brainstormed a few ideas and then it just kind of ballooned from there. She kind of told me what [the Purple Project is] about and how it would help her organization as well as it would benefit the cafe at the same time,” Vuong said. 

Starting out as just an idea between friends, Purple Project lead Sarah Ocampo explained how she decided to go through with the collaboration. 

The Purple Project drink before being stirred. (Sarah Ocampo)

“It did kind of spiral into a snowball of ‘oh, we could do this and this’ and we were all like ‘why don’t we do a boba and a doughnut, I feel like that’d be really good’. We thought about it for a solid ten seconds before we were like ‘okay this is what we’re doing’,” Ocampo said. From that moment, she would work alongside Vuong to create the final product through many decisions. 

In the process of planning the drink, Ocampo learned what goes into making a drink. From choosing flavors, to the cup size, to the looks, all details were taken into account. Throughout this, the drink became something that represented more than a simple snack. 

“It was a long process, there’s very intricate details that kind of add on to create the whole bigger picture,” Ocampo said. “This is a huge thing. Little details are going into this huge thing and I guess the drink exemplifies the process, the growth that we’ve had not even just within the high school but within the community as well.” 

Vuong also described the many variables that went into the drink. 

“The planning process, it was a few up-and-downs. But then this one came up to be the final decision based on the looks and the taste of it. It was a little rollercoaster but eventually we got through with it and chose that drink,” Vuong said. There were multiple prototypes of the drink, including ube, taro, and lavender flavors. Ultimately, lychee and peach was the winner. 

The response was overwhelmingly positive. Ella George, Purple Project team member, explained how people reacted. 

“People were really excited about it because everyone loves boba and also a purple drink — it was so pretty, everyone thought it was really pretty. I think it’s really pretty,” George said. 

One of the main benefits to the collaboration was that it not only supported the Purple Project, but also TeaFé. Vuong noticed the increase in awareness for his store. 

“I feel like it’s helped at least the high school students being aware of the business, this location. For sure, there’s a lot more people aware of this location,” Vuong said. The event wasn’t limited to only State High students, any community member could come and purchase the products.

The Purple Project wants people to know that they are genuinely here to make a difference in the community. 

“Addie, Ella and I are really striving to create a basis of we’re not only just a support group, we’re here to put in action,” Ocampo said. “Not only just with these events, we’re trying to do stuff with our everyday lives like make sure we’re not hanging around rapist apologists, rapists in general. We need to enforce that kind of stuff to make sure we don’t let this behavior slide because it shouldn’t. We’re trying to put in education so it doesn’t even happen in the first place.” This event was a way to showcase their initiative as something that’s here to make moves in order to create long lasting change. 

Sarah Ocampo speaks with a student at TeaFé. (Bryson Christopher)

Their plans don’t stop here. A main ambition the Purple Project has is Code Purple. Code Purple is a code phrase that works in partnership with the State High counseling office. If a student is going through trauma due to sexual violence, they can come to their counselor and say they have a “Code Purple”. The student wouldn’t need to report the incident but instead the counselor will communicate with teachers to give students accommodations. This could mean extended time on tests or work, or even changing the students class if need be. The Purple Project is working toward putting this code into writing. 

In addition to Code Purple, they are also currently working on creating a website. The website will include survivor stories written by State High students, current news regarding sexual assault in the legal system, abortion access, and the contact information for the Purple Project team. 

George and Ocampo conveyed their pride for the Purple Project. “The Purple Project makes me really happy to be a part of just on the community it’s built. Everyone that’s shown support has shown genuine support and I’m really happy to see everyone that’s come out to see us,” George said. 

Ocampo recognized the implications of the collaboration. “I guess I didn’t really understand the significance of it at first, but the moment I started telling people including students and teachers, it kind of became this huge thing. This is a huge accomplishment for the Purple Project itself and for these people who are a part of it and people who are supporting it. I couldn’t be more proud of how much we’ve grown within only just a summer,” Ocampo said. 

The Purple Project’s strides in the professional realm are coupled with its strides in personal connection. Ocampo expressed how the project has helped her. “I’m super proud of not only the professional development of the Purple Project but also the personal development to it. This project means the world to me and I put in a lot of energy into it at a time where I really needed to,” Ocampo said. “I guess it was an outlet for me to release all of what I was feeling and a lot of people also felt the same about this project. I want nothing more than this to grow so people can also feel the same accomplishment that I have.” 

For updates on the Purple Project, follow their Instagram

Note: Sarah Ocampo is a member of the Little Lion Yearbook Team.

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