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Culinary Arts Program Starts Off Hot

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Without a doubt there are some students who’ve fantasized about setting the school on fire before, however the students in the Culinary Arts Program almost did.

“This morning one of the culinary students turned on the skillet and walked off,” Culinary Arts and Hospitality and Tourism teacher Linda Harris said. ”What got me was when I turned around, the skillet was surrounded in a flame and she had burned the bacon.”

Previously a Home Economics teacher at Rio Vista ISD for several years, Harris is eager to teach Culinary Arts the first year the program is available in the district.

“My friend told me there was an opening for a culinary arts teacher, but I said they wouldn’t want me,” Harris said. “Next thing I know, she applied for me and I had an interview the next day.”

The class allows for students to learn the basics of cooking and keeping a kitchen, along with the opportunity to earn their food handler’s license at the end of the year.

“The kids are amazing here,” Harris said. “The kids here seem happy, but most importantly they want to learn.”

As excited as Harris is to teach, the program is still in it’s beginning stages, which has led to some minor problems as she and her students work towards setting up and maintaining the commercial kitchen.

“Some things still aren’t working which makes us lose class time but it’s nothing that any new class doesn’t go through,” Harris said.  “We will get the hang of everything eventually.”

Harris has had her students compete in county fair competitions for years, so she, and the rest of her new students, are planning to compete in the county fair in January.

“Last year one of my previous students won a $600 prize for his homemade jam,” Harris said. “We won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for cake decorating, too.”

Despite what it sounds like, it won’t be all trophies and prizes, the students will have to work hard if they plan on doing well and placing at the fair.

“Eventually I hope to get another teacher in here to help with the ordering and the paperwork,” Harris said. “I’m hoping to bring these kids to national competitions, but it just depends on what kids we have and what they want do; it’s up to them.”

Harris may have big plans now, but the success of her students is determined by how much effort they put in and how far they want to go.

“I’m looking forward to my kids doing really well this year,” Harris said. “The school is expecting great things and I hope we can deliver on that.”

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