(Note: February is Career & Technical Education Month. In recognition of the vital role vocational education plays in our schools and communities, this is one in a series of stories about CTE student and program success through the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District.)
(CLARE) – Lydia Gervase and Harley Hakes wanted to do something a little different for their Career & Technical Education Culinary Arts senior project. They also wanted to do their part for the critters at the Clare County Animal Shelter. So they found a way to do both and make a difference in their community at the same time.
Culinary Arts is one of several CTE programs offered to local high school juniors and seniors through the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District. Aside from the class work and the kitchen experience one would expect from such a class, Culinary Arts students spend a significant amount of time catering events in the community. Harrison seniors Gervase and Hakes, both second-year members of the class, are leaders in more ways than one, according to Instructor Heidi Rocha.
“Harley and Lydia are both animal lovers,” Rocha said, “and they decided to run a banquet called the ‘Fido and Feline Feast’ to raise money for the animal shelter.”
“One of the things we wanted to do was help out the shelter, but we’re not old enough to volunteer at the shelter,” Hakes said. “We decided to do one thing that we definitely knew a lot about, and that’s catering.”
The students organized nearly all aspects of the banquet – selling tickets, preparing the table arrangements, and, of course, preparing the spaghetti-and-meatball dinner, complete with tasty cupcakes for dessert. About 100 community members attended the dinner, held at Mid Michigan Community College, with all proceeds going to the animal shelter. They also received a helping hand from several current and even former Culinary Arts students the night of the event.
“It was really an invitation to the community to come and enjoy yourself, knowing you’re doing something good,” Gervase said. “We had about 20 kids helping out, between class time and having a few come to help the night of the event.”
“The dinner went great - lots of positive reviews on the food and the students’ professionalism,” Rocha said. “The girls raised a little over $1,000 in profits to donate to the animal shelter. I did very little when it came to the planning of the event. They did the costing, figuring out the groceries, figuring out the linens, designing the centerpieces…even two days before the event, when school was cancelled, the girls actually came in and worked all day, prepping food and getting things ready for the banquet. I’m very proud of them for all the work that they’ve put into it.”