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American History and Food Come Together at Bellefonte High School

by on December 17, 2012 11:09 AM

On Tuesday at Bellefonte Area High School, a unique history project will take place — and residents of Centre County are invited to take part.

Christopher Sigler's ninth grade American History students will be presenting their final projects — written and oral portions — to the high school and community. But this is different than most final projects. Students have been charged with creating a pseudo catering company and food based on an objective that will be distributed to those who attend their specific table. When “customers” come to the table, it will be the catering company's job to win their vote by explaining how their catering company's food best represents the historical objective/time period depicted.

Unique? You bet.

“I wanted to create a project that allowed students to educationally research a topic covered in their objectives for their American History I course and create a catering company that created a food to be distributed to the community all while having the students compete against one another for the communities' business,” Sigler explained. “I felt this project would allow students to prove they understand their material by teaching it through food in a competitive nature.”

The public is invited to attend the event. Doors open at 11 a.m. While there is no charge for admission, Sigler asks that those attending bring a non-perishable canned good, which will then be donated to the local food bank. Those attending will get to sample the food, of course.

The students are excited to see their efforts come to life on Tuesday.

“We've been working on it all year long,” said Julia Stone, a freshman at BAHS. “It's been busy. There's a lot of work going into it, but it's fun. There's going to be food … the whole school is going to get to come as well as the community. It's a great assignment … you can get really creative with it.”

In a day and age of powerpoint presentations, Sigler said he liked the idea of using food to get the students engaged.

“Food is something we all have in common. My hope is these students will learn to connect their research using food as that bridge. Hopefully, years down the road, someone who attended this event while at a dinner will ask another to pass a certain food dish … somehow, that food dish is associated with how German and Irish immigrants were two major groups that to America in the 1800s and a conversation would ensue comparing it to present day issues revolving around immigrants coming to America for a better way of life,” Sigler said.

A week prior to the event, Sigler's students were hard at work making banners and signs for the event. It was truly a team effort — some students rolled out the paper for banners while others measured and cut to make certain the signage has uniformity.

On this day, everyone was involved

“It's fun. We have work days in class, but you have to do the rest on your own. (Sigler) is also offering after school sessions. It's definitely different than anything you'd normally do for a class project,” said Madeline Durn.

According to fellow student Shelby Courts, it's exciting to have the community so heavily involved.

“I think it's a good way to combine community with our in-class work. Hopefully, people will come and learn while having a good time,” Courts said.

The timing couldn't be better. The event will take place just before the students get a week off for Christmas break. The students really like the idea that those attending will bring a canned good for admission.

According to Sigler, that was a no-brainer.

“It's simple … it's the right thing to do before the holidays are here. There are many who are less fortunate. Sometimes we all get so caught up with what we are doing that we forget others and ways which we can help. This is just a simple way for our school to give back,” he said.

The event is open to the community from 11 a.m. until noon. After noon, everyone in the school is invited to take part.

“It's been a pretty fun project, very exciting,” said Hayden Dann. “I'm going to be excited to be in front of my peers so I can show them what I've been doing this year.”

Sigler is excited to get everyone involved — faculty, students, staff and the community. St. John's Lutheran Church in Bellefonte donated tables to help the students set up their catering companies.

According to Sigler, he's ready for it to all come together.

“I'm excited for my students. They are so young, and giving them a chance to create a business and present their food while teaching those who attend is a wonderful opportunity,” Sigler said. “They don't realize it, but they are using an array of techniques — research, public speaking, business skills, creation and most importantly, giving back to the community — all in one project.”

IF YOU GO

What: Constitutional Catering in Community Competition

Where: Bellefonte Area High School

When: 11 a.m., Dec. 18

Admission: Free, but those attending are asked to donate a canned good which will be donated to the local food bank.



Chris Morelli is the managing editor of The Centre County Gazette.
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