Students swap classroom technology for culinary tools

Students swap classroom technology for culinary tools
Posted on 12/06/2017
Northeast Tech students Cole Horner and Thomas Layton busily peeled potatoes for the annual Christmas dinner hosted by the Environmental & Spatial Technology(EAST) students at the Claremore Campus. The guests of honor at the dinner include the families in the SafeNet Shelter, as well as those teens in Rogers County Youth Services facility. Knife skills and recipe reading aren’t the typical activities found in the Environmental & Spatial Technology (EAST) classroom at Northeast Tech’s Claremore Campus, but in order to brighten the holidays for those in need of some cheer, the students went outside their comfort zones this week by cooking a Christmas feast.

“We’re making dinner for people who don’t necessarily get a Christmas dinner for one reason or another,” said Claremore student Chaelee Killman during the Tuesday afternoon prep session.

Killman was joined in the kitchen by her classmates, Annika Courtney and Jae Ramsey, along with Cole Horner and Thomas Layton who were busily peeling potatoes for the evening’s dinner.

“We’re cooking turkeys, green beans, corn, stuffing and potatoes for the families in the SafeNet Shelter and for those in Rogers County Youth Services,” Horner said. “We peeled a lot of potatoes.”

The EAST program offers training on a number of different career pathways such as graphic design, video production, computer networking and game design to name a few. Many if not all of the students’ projects require them to identify a problem within the community and then use their skills to work with clients in solving those problems.

Those community connections also played a role in this holiday project, because aside from actually preparing the meal, the students also worked with local community organizations to gather the ingredients. Northeast Tech Instructional and IT Specialist Justin Gibson, who was supervising the students during their cooking session, was quick to share credit with these partners.

“The Eastern Shawnee Tribe Domestic Violence Center donated the five turkeys, and Charlie’s Chicken donated the rolls for the dinner,” said Gibson. “All the leftovers are donated to the SafeNet Shelter for the families to enjoy after the event.”

This year’s invitation list included roughly 70 guests of all ages, and what began as a student project several years ago has continued to evolve.

“This project was the idea of one student several years ago,” Gibson said. “We’ve kept the event going, and every year, it grows. This year we’ve invited EAST alumni and the families of our current students too.”

In addition to preparing and hosting the dinner, the EAST students also planned arts and craft activities for the children in attendance. From posters to Christmas ornaments, there was something for every age.

“I think this is a good event for reaching out to other people,” Layton said. “It’s nice that we can involve our friends and family too.”
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