Students take advantage of new culinary arts program

PAINESDALE — Adams Township students are gaining some real world experience with the district’s newest addition to its vocational program. The school district recently added three new programs, the most recent being a culinary arts program.

Jeffers High School students meet everyday and learn to make a wide variety of dishes, and afterwards, get to sample their tasty creations.

“It’s more of a life skill for some of these students. You know, you gotta cook to live, so learning how to cook healthy for yourself is a great life skill,” said Emily Johnson, the instructor of the class.

Culinary arts classes began early this year after the district purchased and installed the new kitchen equipment in the building that’s shared with the Painesdale Post Office.

“We’re super happy to be in this newly renovated building as of this semester. Students are loving what they’re doing and glad to be doing something hands on. Lots of talent here, too,” added Johnson.

Although the kitchen is functional, there are still a few more items that will complete the facility, and that equipment has been delivered to the and will be installed soon, giving students even more tools to work with.

“I learned more how to make meats and how to actually cook a chicken. Random little things that you wouldn’t actually realize it makes a big difference,” said Grace Laitala, a senior at Jeffers High School.

The equipment was purchased by the Adams Township School Foundation and funded by private donations totaling near $150, 000. Johnson says that teaching is a new adventure for her and her position came about after she expressed an interest with the district, inquiring about possible involvement with the program.

“Right before this, I was staying home with my kids. Before that, I had worked at the hospital. I ran food service there. So this is a new role for me as an instructor and I’m loving this. I feel like this is my calling like I was supposed to be doing this. So, so lucky,” said Johnson.

She will also be sharing her knowledge with 12 to 15 adults in the area as part of a community outreach program where adult cooking classes are offered as well. Those classes begin on April 30th and are free.

Applications will be accepted next week and more information can be found HERE.