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November 2016 - Thanksgiving Teamwork
When State High culinary arts students and Wild Dream Team special education students got together to pass the stuffing, they weren’t sharing an early Thanksgiving feast.
They were making sure others sat down to full plates.
In what has become an annual tradition, the students teamed up to prepare 12 Thanksgiving meals for families in need, collaboratingto create the menu, the dishes and the instruction. High school and Delta Program counselors provide the number of meals needed for students who would not otherwise enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner at home — no names, just a figure. The counselors also deliver the meals to the families.
Special education teacher and Wild Dream Team leader Jenny Lee, who partners with culinary arts instructor Chef Jeremiah Dick from the Career and Technical Center, said the project benefits both Culinary Arts 1, 2 and 3 students and the Wild Dream Team students with multiple disabilities and life skills support.
“At first, the thought was just to provide meals for those without,” Lee said. “However, the experience has turned into much more for students in these classes. The team-building process went quickly and turned into friendship-making.”
To communicate with their cooking partners, culinary arts students learned American Sign Language, used streamers and microphones and provided physical prompts. Lee said the culinary arts students “exhibited leadership skills gained from their culinary arts experiences” to oversee the preparation of broccoli elegant, cornbread stuffing, pumpkin bars, garlic mashed potatoes and other dishes.
“Both groups were motivated well beyond the kitchen,” Lee said. “Friendships overflowed from the kitchen to the hallways and stirred the hearts of all those watching the students learn together.”
Once again, Lee approaches the holiday already thankful.
“Special kudos to all the staff, high school and Delta, and Hoss’s (Steak and Seahouse) for donating all the product needed to ensure that the delicious meals could be made,” she said. “Staff and students together feel blessed to live and learn in a community where people are recognized first and differences fade away.”
By Chris Rosenblum
SCASD Communications Director
Photo courtesy of Jenny Lee