The SPARCS Junior Alternate program students at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) have adjusted well to the recent school merger from their previous alternate classes at 100 Mile House Junior Secondary, says youth care worker Melody McIntosh.
SPARCS is an acronym for skills, potentials, attitudes, responsibilities and capabilities for success.
As part of developing these attributes and capacities, McIntosh explains the students have taken on a predominant role in food preparation at PSO.
“With the advent of the merger, our program became responsible for running the school cafeteria. So, it gives the kids a chance to have work experience and to get out of the classroom.”
With the modest profits made in the cafeteria, the students decided to do a noon holiday turkey dinner to give back to the school, she adds, and to the community through the donations it will raise.
The inaugural PSO Christmas Lunch takes place tomorrow (Dec. 19) and McIntosh says it is “quite a huge undertaking,” but the SPARCS youth have been working hard to make it happen.
Eight turkeys have been prepped, she says, adding the 20 students in the program are doing everything from planning and making posters to peeling 200 potatoes.
“It’s a lot of work; they are giving up quite a bit of time. They’re taking turns on a rotating schedule; we have about eight potato peelers, for example.”
In lieu of students buying their noontime meal, the turkey luncheon will be provided by donation of a non-perishable food item, new toy or cash to be distributed by the 100 Mile House Food Bank Society, McIntosh explains.
She notes several PSO leadership class students have volunteered to collect the donations.
Five SPARCS classmates have also dedicated their lunch hour to serve the meal, McIntosh says, and PSO principal Vic Brett will be the honourary server handing out plates.
The cafeteria class is taught by PSO teacher Andy McIntosh, and he offers the students FOODSAFE training on top of all the cooking and food preparation skills they gain.
Melody adds all of the students are handing the daunting turkey dinner task very well, and it is hoped to become an annual event.
“They are doing a lot of work with preparation and planning, and I am just super proud of them.”