Clayton Valley Charter High School students find ways to amaze me on a regular basis. But when you get food involved … the WOW factor skyrockets.
Recently, a group of students from Marcellus Waller’s Foods class teamed up with Brooke Tompkins, our Director of Dining Services, and created pumpkin magic. The class has a food theme each month. In November, Mr. Waller’s class studied the pumpkin, its nutritional value and conducted cooking demonstrations in the classroom. Ms. Tompkins also incorporated pumpkin in the dining menus throughout the month, giving all CVCHS students a chance to experience this glorious gourd.
The best part, however, is when the class and kitchen collaborate to create our Discovery Kitchen. CVCHS partners with Chartwells K12 dining program, a company that prides itself on at least 90 percent of its food products being made on campus from scratch. CVCHS’s goal isn’t just serving great food, it’s also teaching our students about diet, nutrition and self-sufficiency.
Through the Discovery Kitchen, students are producing something on a grand scale. Nine students from Mr. Waller’s class produced the first of what we are hoping will be many Discovery Kitchen events. They made pumpkin bars and served more than 250 students and staff, and they were delicious – verified by a personal taste test.
As Mr. Waller points out, making pumpkin bars for hundreds of students is no small feat.
“Students volunteered to take on the Discovery Kitchen launch on top of their regular classroom responsibilities,” Mr. Waller said. “They learned how to prepare a recipe and create something in a commercial yield. They had to research, study and prep to make a large commercial batch and then serve and educate their fellow students during the presentation.”
But it’s not the only way students are creating food magic on campus. Ms. Tompkins also works with our Special Education teacher, Veronica Liwanag, to allow students to work in the kitchen and learn valuable skills.
“We have already seen our student workers make big improvements,” Ms. Tompkins said. “They walk in and know exactly what needs to be done and it has been incredible teaching and working with them. We are watching them grow, learn and prepare for what could lead to more independent living and job options when they graduate.”