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Students Practice Job Skills at Fine Dining Day

 Student prepares a tray of Thanksgiving food for her classmates.

November 21, 2023 - Fine Dining Day at Ackerman School is a highly anticipated annual tradition. Every year a few days before Thanksgiving, instead of having an ordinary lunch, students indulge in a delicious meal of turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, apple cobbler and chocolate chip cookies to celebrate the holiday. 

“I love Fine Dining Day because it gives the students an opportunity to get served a meal like someone would at a restaurant,” said Nancy Rickey, school counselor. “Students get to practice social skills and soft skills that they need to be successful at home and in the community. They also get to socialize with their buddies.”

New this year, students took on the roles of server and cook. Some helped set up all eight tables with tablecloths, silversear, and flower centerpieces. Others helped take food orders, bring food to the tables, and make desserts. 

“You have to be respectful and can’t play around,” said William Parks, an 8th-grade student. “I walked around serving and helped the teachers with whatever they needed.”

Brenda Saye, their job training teacher, has been providing food training opportunities to students for weeks to prepare. They’ve reviewed everything from how to wear gloves and hair nets to baking. 

“We’ve gone over how to take orders and we’ve been teaching them how to cook too,” said Saye. “We have a coffee cart that sells muffins, which the students make, so all of that has helped the students prepare for today.” 

Next year, Saye would like to teach students how to decorate, so they can take on that role at the next Fine Dining Day. Her favorite part is seeing all the students intermingle with each other.