SANDYMOUNT — Thanksgiving in May?
But the delightful aroma of roasting turkey that wafted through the hallways at Sandymount Elementary made that distinct impression recently, when the fifth grade planned, prepared and served lunch to the entire school.
Room 15, taught by Becky Gerrard, manned the kitchen May 8, assuming the chefs' role for 227 lunches. It had been Room12's turn May 7. Along with their health teacher, Mabel Braune, the pupils cooked for and served 180 guests, namely their peers and instructors.
The trimmings included mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, cinnamon apples and orange slushy.
Gerrard, who has taught 17years at Sandymount and 20 in the county, came up with the idea several years ago as part of the nutrition unit in her health class.
"We study the four food groups in the nutrition unit," said Braune, who has taught at Sandymount for 30 years. "This helps students see howthe groups fit into a lunch menu and also learn about texture and color."
"Everything went well," said Gerrard, who allowed pupils to pick their own work assignments.
Romina Purpora, 11, of Finksburg,picked her job of dishing up turkey, dressing, gravy and potatoes tosecond-graders.
Loren Daniel, 10, of Westminster, added corn to plates.
"It was fun," she said. "My friends were kidding me."
Ten-year-old Robert Entrekin of Finksburg spent half an hour slicing turkey with a friend.
Scott Fairley, 10, of Finksburg said he "dipped mashed potatoes out like ice cream" to fourth-graders.
The lunchnutrition lesson has become something of a Sandymount Elementary tradition, with the help of cafeteria manager Shirley Sawyer and her experienced assistants, Nancy Jennings and Betsy Alexander.
From 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., the trio serves five shifts of pupils, plus morning and afternoon kindergarten snacks.
Sawyer, who usually arrives at the school at 7 a.m., gave the teachers a schedule showing the number of pupils needed for various jobs and when they should report for KP duty.
The 28 fifth-graders in Room 12 opted for turkey and cheese subs, turkey corn soup, celery and carrot sticks with sour cream ranch dip and cinnamon cookies.
At 8 a.m., fifth-graders Tanya Caltrider and Jenny Palmer began mixing flour, butter, sugar, eggs,andcinnamon for 18 dozen cookies. They dropped the dough on sheets, pressed a design on each with a fork and baked them.
"It's exciting to be making something that the whole school is eating," Jenny said.
Jeff Landow and Greg Fisher cooked enough soup for 200, adding turkey, corn, carrots, onions and seasonings to the kettle.
Kevin Turner and Ben Yust made peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, as an alternate.
Adam Reece, 11, and Matthew Dunnigan, 10, volunteered to fix the kindergarten snack of peanut-butter crackers and apple juice.
Jackie Smith, Amanda Kerr,Josh Martin, Michael Spence, Sarah Bowen and Kristie Stem donned plastic gloves to build the subs with turkey, cheese, shredded lettuce and mayo on a roll.
Melissa Reusing, Alan Tawney and Sarah Barnhart cut up carrot sticks.
With a smile, 11-year-olds Corey Barber and Joey Blizzard and 10-year-old Gabe Griffis met the onslaught of first-graders at 11:30.
Corey put a cookie ona plate. In turn, Joey placed the sandwich, and Gabe added celery and carrot sticks. Betsy Alexander ladled piping-hot soup.
Other fifth-graders served later shifts.
First-grader Joey Stasik, 6, said,"The cookie is good, and so's the sandwich. I'd like to cook in fifth grade."