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High Tech
Culinary Class Cooks Up Success
Culinary students, from left, Nichole Nehring, Carolina Duarte, Alyssa Munoz, Marissa Rosas, and Ashli Cisneros, along with their other classmates are participating in a Cookbook Fundraiser to raise money for the culinary class, field trips, events, and to help purchase uniforms. - photo by VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

There are exciting things happening in the Culinary Arts class at Riverbank High School taught by Nena Sandoval this school year.

Currently they are having a cookbook fundraiser, from now until Sept. 8, with two cookbooks to choose from for $10 each. For every cookbook sold, $4 will go to the FHA-HERO (Future Homemakers of America and Home Economics Related Occupations) Club or food classes for field trips, events, and to help purchase uniforms.

Eventually, Sandoval would like to raise funds to purchase commercial kitchen equipment so the ROP students can gain hands on experience in a commercial setting.

The cookbooks are provided by Creative Cookbooks based in Hollywood. They create and produce eight different cookbooks that are distributed to schools all over the nation. The company offers these cookbooks to cooking classes and culinary arts programs for fundraisers.

Doug Pierce with Creative Cookbooks did a presentation for the Riverbank High School culinary class on Wednesday, Aug. 21 to give the students some highlights and selling tips.

The students are given prizes as an incentive to sell the cookbooks like a Penny Skateboard, cell phone gift card, iPad mini, iPod touch, and several other items.

“He (Doug Pierce) just really tries to create a lot of enthusiasm for the kids and supports them by giving them tips on who to sell to and where to sell,” said Sandoval. “We encourage them to stay within the realm of their circle, not selling door to door, but selling to neighbors, at the church, or co-workers.”

The cookbooks are in stock so when a student gets an order they can deliver quickly.

At the end of the sale, Sandoval will complete the paperwork, submit it and Creative Cookbooks will send the prizes to those students that earned the incentives.

Sandoval expressed that the cookbook fundraiser last year was a success and they raised approximately $800. Her classes are currently bigger than last year so she set a $1200 goal this year.

The students have not begun any cooking labs yet, because they are still going through safety and sanitation as part of their early classwork at RHS.

The FHA-HERO Club promotes community service, college, and career awareness as well as focusing on leadership skills for success in home and community.

“There’s a big competition that’s held every spring at the state leadership meeting and this last spring they gave away over $300,000 worth of scholarships,” stated Sandoval. “It’s a great organization; they really stress professional behavior, leadership, even in their dress.”

The members are required to wear a professional blazer and a white collared shirt. The club meets once a month.

All students in the culinary classes are considered members but whether they want to be active members is up to them. An active member will attend meetings, participate in community service, go to regional meetings, field trips, and assist with fundraisers.

New this year to the culinary class are their online textbooks and new Samsung Chromebook laptops.

The laptops were purchased through the Perkins Grant, which is a Federal act established to improve career-technical education programs, integrate academic and career-technical instruction, serve special populations, and meet gender equity needs.

The classes that Sandoval teaches are more career minded, hands on project based learning courses which the Perkins grant is specifically used for. They also sponsor certain clubs and the FHA Club is one they support.

Through the grant Sandoval was able to purchase eight Chromebooks and the cart they are stored in. The Chromebooks are thin, light, and portable and will be used in the classroom. The students work in pairs so there will be one tablet for them to share. In the near future, Sandoval plans to have a laptop for every student.

“After some initial frustrations, the kids have really enjoyed it,” said Sandoval. “It’s definitely the feel of a high tech use in the classroom.”

The ROP students are creating their own blogs on by choosing a template, selecting a title, and the colors that will be used on their blog. The students will be connected to each other’s blogs so they will be able to read what they are all blogging about. Edublogs is a trusted website for educational blogging and Sandoval will have access to this website and be able to manage the blogs that the students create.

They will create an ePortfolio where they can post their achievements, share experiences, create a résumé, create a study plan, and work online with their advisor.

The ePortfolio they create will be available to them outside of the class and after school. They will be able to use this site for employment purposes as well.

This year Sandoval will be holding a Project Day type workshop once a month where she will be teaching different life skills like sewing, advanced cake decorating, making crafts, gifts and other things. She will be discussing consumerism, budgeting, how to save money, and other topics of that nature.

There are several “firsts” for the Culinary Arts teacher and her students this school year, she said, adding that they are very excited about it all and see it as a new adventure.