The vote was in for spaghetti and sausage with a side of garlic bread for our final class and guest dinner, with jelly donut muffins for dessert.

With each student bringing two guests, plus some school officials and donors, we were expecting nearly 20 people! Which meant doubling our recipes, a math problem in and of itself, and then doubling the work. Not to mention the table set up. Time was tight, with no room for error. But these students were up to the challenge, and excited for the opportunity to cook and show off their skills.

“My godmother is coming with my Mom,” said Zoe Smith. And each child announced who was coming. Moms, dads, grandmoms, aunts, friends of the family. Alyssa Pagan was excited, but also lamenting the end. “I’m just so sad it’s the last week,” she said glumly.

No time for that, we have work to do! And these kids snapped into action, each taking on a job, first measuring and mixing ingredients to get the muffins in the oven, then chopping onions and garlic and sautéing the sausage to get the tomato sauce simmering on the stove.

For the garlic bread, we melted butter and added fresh chopped garlic, split a loaf of bread, and brushed the garlic butter on each half, then sprinkled parmesan cheese on top.

Then it was all about the timing, waiting til the last minute to boil the pasta, and toast the garlic bread, so it could be served hot.

Of course it all came together and the parents were suitably impressed. Christopher Duran had the first guests to arrive and he proudly served their plates. “We made this pasta ourselves,” he said. “But I still wish we made the guacamole,” his all-time favorite dish.

Each child received a certificate for completing the class with a special citation.

Mackenzie Forchion, for her confidence in the kitchen, excellent knife skills and willingness to take on any job, and efficiently complete it with a smile.

Zoe Smith, for her great enthusiasm in the kitchen, and her ability to take directions and complete tasks on her own.

Shiaheem Freeman, for seeing the bigger picture, and noting that we were making things that taste good, but were healthy too. And for being so happy to be in the kitchen.

Alyssa Pagan, for loving everything about being in the class, the chopping, sautéing, identifying the ingredients, reading the recipe, setting the table, serving the meal. And for loving everything we made to eat.

Christopher Duran, for his enthusiasm for his Hispanic roots, and for his love of the guacamole we made in class, which he made again at home, and which I predict he will be making again and again, for a long time.