February is CTE month. “Career and Technical Education has thousands of students enrolled in classes on the middle and high school levels here in Botetourt County every year,” said Lisa Barnett who is the CTE coordinator for Botetourt County Public Schools.
Some Botetourt CTE classes are producing crackerjack welders, others automotive repair and auto body, nursing, cosmetology, criminal justice, building trades, horticulture and many more skilled career positions over at BTEC. But there is much more. Technology classes abound, agriculture, and much more at the middle and high school levels. Life skills are also very important. Family and Consumer Science classes offer such skills in a number of class categories. Culinary Arts has four classes at LBHS and several at James River High School. In the class the students learn not only how to cook, but nutrition and food safety, economics and even life skills like team work and academics like mathematics.
Cindy Boggs is the familiy and consumer sciences teacher for Culinary Arts second period class at Lord Botetourt High School. She has the distinction of working with a VDOE committee in Richmond on the assessment of questions on the CTE workplace readiness skills test that all junior and senior CTE students will take in a CTE class. It was called ” Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth Review and Development Team.” The test covers everything from building a resume to getting along in the workplace to being timely. “These workplace readiness skills we don’t get teach these days in general education classes because of SOL testing, but during CTE class they can be taught,” said Barnett.
Boggs produced a syllabus of the numerous different food topics the class covers from food safety all the way through nutrition to even cooking international foods by the end of the semester.
It’s Valentine Cookie dough making day and Boggs by example, shows the students how to follow the recipe, measure and mix the dough. In the group the Botetourt View observed were seniors Brooke Fuehry, Kelly Roebuck, Hunter Salmon, Chris Gallion and junior John Entsminger. ” I really like to cook, especially pasta dishes,” said Roebuck who showed some proficiency in the kitchen. Fuerhy said, “I like to cook breakfast foods.” The three boys like grilling and all wanted to know their way around the kitchen. Said Salmon, “I would like to one day help my wife cook.” The dough didn’t exactly work out as compared to the other students and hoped that an overnight refrigeration might improve it. On day two, everyone showed up ready to bake.
Several students along with Boggs came with cookie cutters and sprinkles. The students had finished a work sheet on cookies and the sugar cookies came under the heading of “rolled cookies.” Boggs gave a demonstration on how to roll and cut-out cookies and the teams returned to their cooking stations. The dough was not so great even after Boggs added a little flour. Said Gallion,” It tastes like cornbread. ” Entsminger replied, “We will eat it anyway.” The team made a pan of bar cookies with the sad dough and used extra dough on hand to roll and cut out the cookies. Surprising even the sad dough tasted pretty good with sprinkled sugar. The cut out cookies were tasty! Each teen took a turn at some part of the preparation on each day.
In the end, the cookies were delightful and while the class ate them up and carried some away, they also prepared to one day have the CTE seal of approval on a well deserved high school diploma.
Here is the recipe:
Lord Botetourt’s Valentine Sugar Cookies:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Colored sugar or sprinkles
Combine flour, soda and cream of tarter in a bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until pastry looks like peas. Beat eggs sugar and vanilla in another bowl; add to flour mixture. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Roll out thinly on a floured surface and cut with a cookie cutter. Decorate with sugar and sprinkles. Bake at 400 for 4 to 5 minutes. Makes 3 dozen small cookies. –Richmond Junior League Cookbook