Brockton Fifth Graders Get a Taste of Culinary Arts at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School
Hancock Elementary 5th grader Zachary Chase waits on Principal Marcia Andrade-Serpa during SRVTHS Student to Student Program.
It was a completely different lunch experience for Brockton’s Hancock Elementary School Principal Marcia Andrade-Serpa, as she supported the efforts of her 5th graders in a “Student to Student Program” at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School’s Colonial Room. “They’re having so much fun; I’m having a blast.”
Laurie Pfistner of Bridgewater had a great idea for offering a community service opportunity to younger students while completing her Senior Project requirement at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School. The Culinary Arts senior chose to implement the ambitious “Student to Student Program” with co-facilitators Jessica Pires, fellow classmate, Chef Lisa Maiden and fellow students, to introduce 5th graders from the Hancock Elementary School to the field of Culinary Arts.
Hancock Elementary School students began their preparation for the day’s activities by getting familiar with the menu under the direction of high school senior Kenny Pierre. Seniors and 5th graders were paired up one on one to fulfill the assignments required for a successful and satisfying dining experience that patrons of the Colonial Room have come to expect.
The Culinary Arts seniors were excited to assist the younger students. Wearing deli hats and front of the house aprons provided by Culinary Arts, the young “interns” worked in the kitchen making chicken fingers, pie and pizza dough to support the day’s menu of Pepperoni and Cheese pizzas, Garden, Greek and Caesar Salads, Turkey, Ham, Chicken and Tuna Melt sandwiches, Honey BBQ Chicken and Parmesan Crusted Chicken. Restaurant patrons enjoyed the variety of dining choices as well as the refreshing company of well-behaved and polite students.
Mehgan Pariseau showed Lauren Brown the ropes at the schools pastry center, how to take orders, serve water, and transition meals from kitchen to customers. Lauren beamed as she described “an amazing experience. I like Mehgan and she likes me. And Mehgan’s funny!”
Between customers, Stephen “Hans” Kurinskas provided instruction, information and tips while working with Leslie Rosa. She learned how to be a hostess as well as taking responsibility for 4 tables in restaurant, including customer service, taking orders, and bussing tables. Derek Morawski trained 5th grader Craig Duong with a practice session of waiting tables.
Senior Chelsea Dolan described the Hancock students as “eager to learn and asking a fair share of questions. Not holding back and not shy.”
Co-facilitator Jessica Pires worked with Zackary Chase. He learned how to cook and bake and wait tables. “I enjoyed setting up tables and doing dishes” said Zack.
Madeline Saville, 5th grader, may surprise mom some day by making an apple pie, pizza or cinnamon rolls at home.
“It is important that our students understand that giving back to their communities is so important” noted Chef Maiden, also a graduate of SRVTHS. “Culinary students got a chance to show the pride they have for their shop and school and will benefit in many ways from this experience. These students are well behaved and likely to choose vocational track.”
Hancock Principal Andrade-Serpa recognized many of her former students among the seniors, noting their maturity and politeness. “It’s always exciting when we can get the students outside of the confines of a classroom and show them that our community is a greater classroom, and Chef Maiden made that possible today. I think we may have some chefs and bakers in our futures.”
Before their dismissal, the youngsters concluded their adventure with a tour of the various vocational opportunities at the school. Miss Pfistner’s senior project was a huge success, and a strong beginning of her own career: She has been accepted and plans to go to Johnson & Wales University’s Culinary Arts Program and looks forward to owning her own restaurant or being a chef.
Other Hancock students were Andre Watson, Nykera Mendes, Ivanna Brito and Maka-Lah Hicks.
Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School is a public 9-12 vocational high school located in Easton, Massachusetts, serving approximately 1,250 students from the city of Brockton and the towns of East Bridgewater, Easton, Foxborough, Mansfield, Norton, Sharon, Stoughton, and West Bridgewater.