At Travis High School, all students must be off-campus, in an after-school program, or playing a sport by 4:30, a mere twenty minutes after their school day is finished. The rule doesn’t make much sense, but its intention is good. The intention is to prevent kids from loitering around the school for long amounts of time, because they do loiter quite often, typically because they don’t have much to look forward to when they go home. While it is not ideal that the students have to be kicked off so quickly, the longer those kids stay on school property milling around, the greater the likelihood of violence or drug use on campus.
A silver lining of the stringent rule is that kids who don’t want to go home and aren’t in a sport are now getting involved with after-school activities, which are great ways for students to do activities they enjoy, put the experience on their college resumes, and hang out with peer groups different from their normal school cliques. Since YoungLife starts at 6:15 on Monday nights, students who attend have to either go home and return to Travis for YL, play a sport, or do an after-school activity. In an effort to keep kids on campus till 6:15, YoungLife leaders are leading classes as paid teachers. Those classes help kids stay around and learn something new. It works out for students and YL leaders because it looks good on our resumes too, and we get paid per hour. We only work for about an hour and a half, but $15 dollars a week teaching something you love is gravy.
As I’ve mentioned, I have the privilege of teaching a cooking class to any students who are interested. Our first meeting was supposed to be last week, but Ms. Genevieve, who is in charge of after-school activities and an absolutely brilliant woman, couldn’t bring the groceries to cook because her car had broken down. So, last Monday students still showed up, and we talked about what kind of foods we wanted to cook, the moral issues with eating animals, the environmental effects of what we eat, and different food cultures. Surprisingly, the kids brought up most of the topics.
We talked about food for two hours. What. Heaven is place on Earth.
This Monday though, I got to teach my first real cooking class, and go ahead and guess how many students showed up. If you guessed zero, you were seventeen off.
No, it wasn’t negative seventeen.
I taught seventeen kids (taught in the loosest sense of the word) how to make jambalaya. Ms. Genevieve set some ground rules for the class regarding what we can cook, and they are perfectly reasonable: few ingredients, inexpensive ingredients, few dishes, and maximum tasty. Jambalaya was amazingly easy. We used two boxes of jambalaya mix for the rice, and then in another pan we sautéed onion we had cut up, minced garlic, tomato puree, and sausage. Super easy, something the kids can make for their families, and very affordable: A+
The finished product looked something like this:
We decided at the end of class that two weeks from now we are going to start voting on what dish we are going to cook the following week, and the dish will correspond to a country, i.e. Chinese food, Mexican, and so on. This next week we’re cooking something I picked, because we didn’t vote on Monday because there wasn’t enough time. So, we’re cooking tomato and egg sauce with spaghetti and garlic butter bread. Very inexpensive, easy, and filling. Also, there are two work stations (the bread and the sauce), so not everyone will be cluttered around the stove like last time.
It will probably look exactly like these pictures.
Hopefully this coming week I can take some pictures to let ya’ll get a glimpse of the chaos that is cooking class, er “Master Chef” I mean.