WHS seniors bring classes to WMS and Cali

by PAUL HILKER – Staff Writer
Culinary arts students from Windsor High School are bringing the
joys of cooking and gardening into the classrooms at Windsor Middle
School and Cali CalmŽcac Charter School.
Two pairs of senior students from the culinary arts program at
Windsor High provide cooking demonstrations to students each week
at Cali CalmŽcac Charter School and Windsor Middle School, teaching
them about food and nutrition as part of their senior projects.
Ryan Ferrari said he chose teaching the cooking classes as his
senior project because he gets to work with kids. “I get to
interact with them and teach them about nutrition,” said Ferrari.
“It’s a lot of fun.”
“The kids are real happy when we come in to teach them and bring
them food,” agreed WHS senior Nicole Bolla, who also teaches a
cooking class at Windsor Middle School along with her classmate
Jennifer Muir. “Working with them has been great,” she said.
According to Bolla, during the first few classes in December,
she and Muir weren’t focused on teaching the kids about
“We showed them ways to prepare chocolate and cookies as gifts
for the holidays,” she said. Over the next few weeks, she said they
intend to teach them more about nutrition and healthy food.
At Cali CalmŽcac, Ferrari and his WHS culinary classmate Carinne
Doherty teach a class of third grade students.
“So far we’ve taught them how to make applesauce, salsa, fresh
cooked chard, and a few other things,” said Doherty, who is
bilingual. “Ryan usually teaches in English and then I translate
for the Spanish speaking kids.”
Cali CalmŽcac has an active gardening program in which students
learn how to grow vegetables and herbs. The high school culinary
students harvest produce from the gardens and use them in their
cooking demonstrations.
“They grow it and we take it and cook it, and show them what’s
in the food,” said Ferrari. “We teach them about the nutritional
value of it.”
The gardening programs coordinated with the culinary arts
program at the high school are beneficial for both groups of
students, said Shannan Johnson, the garden coordinator at Cali
“It’s good because it gives the high schoolers some hands-on
teaching experience and also gives the younger ones an awareness of
the importance of eating healthy,” said Johnson. “We’re trying to
teach students about complete nutrition — not just what to eat,
but how to grow and prepare it themselves,” she said.
Johnson is also the Coordinator of the Windsor Education
Foundation, a group of parents, teachers, and school administrators
which supports extracurricular programs such as the culinary arts
program at WHS.
Johnson was recently awarded a $7,500 to help enhance the
gardening program at Cali.
Both WHS culinary arts teacher Marie Ganister and Johnson feel
that increasing community support for the gardening and culinary
arts programs is beneficial all the way around.
“Putting these two programs together is great because we’re
getting students at all levels involved. A lot of local gardeners
and restaurants are contributing, as well,” said Ganister. “The
more that parents and community members are aware of the great
programs that we have in our schools, the better.”

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