Blogs / Features
THINGS ARE COOKING AROUND THE AIA! (literally)Jan 9, 2013
You think the field, the court the wrestling mat or other areas of competition are the only places around a high school that things get intense? Think again. On a recent afternoon I sat at a table in Liberty High Schools impressive culinary hub and watched in amazement at the students who were working feverishly to prepare full meals for myself and several others to judge. Now I don’t about you but trying to sink the game winning free throw would’ve been a lot less stressful for me but if these students were nervous they certainly didn’t show it.
Jeff Stanhill, the instructor for Liberty’s Culinary Arts programs was kind enough to invite me to be part of this big event for the students. Like a big playoff game, the energy & focus from the students was evident from the moment you walked into the kitchen/serving area. In all some 175 students take part in the culinary program at Liberty with the classes ranging from Introduction to Culinary Arts class, primarily for freshman to the Creative Foods class(sophomores), and the Advanced Culinary Arts Class(juniors & seniors). Liberty in fact is one of 56 high schools around the state that offers some sort of culinary program. All told some 4000 students around the state show their skills and pursue their goals in growing culinary programs that give students a head start on a fast and competitive industry.
Watching these kids move around the kitchen and work with one another to get the dishes prepared just right was impressive to say the least. What also was apparent was how strongly the students felt about their instructor. Like a good coach, Stanhill had his kids prepared and he watched and worked the room moving from group to group to observe and offer insight and encouragement.
With the final bite of my delicious desert I gave a thumbs up to not only the meal but the entire experience. It offered another reminder that competitors aren’t just happening on the sports teams but also in classes and programs like this and these students have the same kind of desire and dedication that any athlete would if they want to excel at their craft. Who knows, maybe one of these students will be the next big star on the Food Network or the head chef at a top restaurant in Arizona or another part of the world. Wherever they wind up they’ll be another great example of the amazing students who are part of the Arizona school system and the people who teach them.