Fourth-graders Aaliyah Cline and Josiah Reynolds stir vegetables in a wok during preparation of a 30-minute meal.
Whatever a student’s interests might be – cooking, farm animals, martial arts or dozens of other subjects – there was something to enjoy Friday afternoon during Malabar Intermediate School’s Activity Day.
Organizer Dawn Cole said sessions were led by Malabar staff and members of the public.
“Every staff member and others from our community are sharing hobbies, crafts and other things they are passionate about,” Cole said. “It’s all about learning and having fun.”
Subjects ranged from sign language and magic tricks to cupcake decorating and yoga; from Greek dance to origami and kickball.
Music teacher Rachelle Schwall brought goats and chickens to the lawn behind the school. Fourth-grade teacher Emily Nicol led canvas painting in her room. The gym was filled with martial arts and a host of other physical activities.
In Room 119 substitute teacher Marianne Sweat, assisted by paraprofessional Pam Minck, led a large group of students in preparing a 30-minute meal.
Two groups – one boys, the other girls – prepared trays of rainbow fruit salad.
“Beautiful!” Sweat said, as the business of preparing chicken, rice and vegetables for a Japanese-style meal got under way.
“Cooking is more than just the food,” Sweat said. “It’s about being with others in the same space at the same time. It’s about bumping into each other. It’s about enjoying each other and having fun.”
Several students were involved in different aspects of preparing the meal while others sat at brightly decorated tables listening to Sweat.
“Chinese or Japanese cooks use a deep pan like this. Who knows what it’s called?” she asked.
Several hands went up. “A wok,” was the response.
“That’s right, a wok. They cook their food at a very high heat. It’s done quickly. That’s why it’s called stir fry,” Sweat explained.
Someone wondered if the rice cooker had been checked recently. As it turns out, the rice was perfect.
“But that’s a lesson too,” Sweat said. “Sometimes in the kitchen things don’t go as you planned. But you can still be together and you can still have fun.”
Within 30 minutes of the time they started students were sitting down to enjoy the chicken, rice, stir-fry vegetables and rainbow fruit salad.
“Everyone will get a copy of the recipes we used today,” Sweat said.