Chatham Central students turn ‘pasta project’ into soul food

Bear Creek, NC – Over plates of pasta, students from Chatham Central High School added to the fabric of Chatham County and bridged a generation gap in several swell scoops.

Everett Goldston teaches culinary arts at Chatham Central.

Everett Goldston teaches culinary arts at Chatham Central.

Everett Goldston teaches culinary arts at Chatham Central. Yet his passion for community service is as appealing as the dishes that emerge from his ovens and stovetops. He said the priority he puts on community comes from how he was raised in Durham, where he still lives.

“I’ve always had a love for community and for community service,” Goldston said.

That helps explain why some of his students earned a first-place statewide SkillsUSA award for community action. They’ll head to Louisville, Kentucky, later this month to compete at the national level with SkillsUSA.

Culinary arts is part of Career Technical Education (CTE) in Chatham County Schools. CTE in the district includes programming in health science, marketing, technology and agriculture.

Angela de Muinck is the activities director at Cambridge Hills, an assisted-living facility in Pittsboro. Goldston’s students had done some catering there. She wanted them to return to do a hands-on activity with the residents.

And — voila! — the pasta project: Chatham Central students teaching Cambridge Hills residents how to perform precise culinary cuts and prepare sauces for a meal including garlic crostini, chicken marsala with mezze penne pasta, rotini pasta alfredo and chopped garden salad with vinaigrette dressing; snickerdoodle cookies and fresh strawberries with freshly made whipped cream.

The residents ate it up — literally and figuratively.

“They were impressed at what [the students] were able to do,” de Muinck said. “To put together such an elaborate meal with the resources that they had in such a short amount of time was amazing for the residents to see.”

Chatham Central students Thomas Hacker and Isidra Brower were in charge while their classmates worked with the residents.

Chatham Central students Thomas Hacker and Isidra Brower

Chatham Central students Thomas Hacker and Isidra Brower

“They learned a lot being with our elderly neighbors,” Goldston said.

Hacker, a freshman, said the project gave him a better appreciation for seasoned citizens.

“They seemed to have a really fun time with us and learning how to cook,” Hacker said.

“They enjoyed the fellowship, because they were able to take part in the preparation of the meal,” de Muinck said.

“They were happy to see that teenagers wanted to come and help them out,” Brower said. “They really had a lot of smiles whenever we were showing them how to prepare the pasta and the sauces.”

Brower, a junior, said providing community service under Goldston’s guidance has made her a more confident public speaker.