Student Cooking Smells Are Drifting Across DHS Again | Local News

DANVILLE — Students and staff at Danville High School know when students in the food science lab are cooking.

Sweet smells filled the halls when they baked cookies earlier this school year, and the rest of the school smelled, saw and maybe even had a chance to try some other baked goods this week. as the students baked fall treats.

Introduction to Family and Consumer Science students baked pumpkin muffins and apple cider muffins this week.

As some of the students were in the kitchen one day, they switched sides another day with other students to sit on the side of the food lab classroom.

It’s been 20 years since the DHS has had a class on family and consumer sciences. Students first take an introductory course that covers cooking, childcare and fashion.

There are two rooms for students.

The new kitchen, food laboratory room, is divided into four kitchen areas and also includes a classroom section with offices.

First-grade teachers Marissa Smith and Ashley Engebretsen are the two family and consumer science teachers.

“This semester is a little smaller. Next semester is when we have the full load,” Smith said of classes.

This semester, they’re just teaching the introductory class. They have six classes.

The first unit was child development.

“We talked a bit about the psychology of growing up in different environments; a bit about family structures,” Smith said.

Classes also learn a bit about fashion, interior design and cooking.

“Kids get a bit of everything FCS is,” she said.

Each unit can be eight to 10 weeks.

For the design unit, they talked about color palettes, painted the color wheel, and discussed lighter or darker features, what colors you wear, and how you look in different seasons.

Next semester, they separate into different classes.

One will be fashion history.

Smith said DHS administrative assistant to director Dee Freed would like to come back after her retirement to teach fashion and tailoring, as she is a seamstress.

“We kind of have a five-year plan,” Smith said with a laugh, of the planned classes.

“We have a lot of fashion-interested kids surprisingly,” she added.

Other classes will deal with child development, where students will have realistic robotic babies to take home and take care of.

“It’s a lot more into the psychology of growing up,” Smith said.

Engebretsen will teach food.

They will also add advanced courses later.

In the food lab, the student’s favorite piece of equipment is the KitchenAid mixer.

Kitchens have pantries and racks of equipment and pots, refrigerators, stoves, sinks, and workspace for students to work on at the same time.

Overall, they try to do a lot of practical things.

In addition to cookies and muffins, they made Oreo bars.

Later in the year, students will make baked macaroni and cheese.

“We’re just trying to give them the basics of cooking,” Smith said. “So we try to find something in each food group.”

Foods 1 goes into more detail by teaching students about eggs and different grains, and they will make homemade bread.

Experience levels vary by student.

“I’ve got some coming in and they’re saying, ‘I’m Gordon Ramsay,’ I’m ready to cook you quite the feast,” Smith said.

And then there are other students who don’t know how to use a knife well or do anything else.

Engebretsen and Smith see a variety of culinary experiences, interests, and skills in students very well.

DHS Junior Lakin Alyea said she had fun in the kitchen, where she said she didn’t have much experience.

Freshman Tarina Lewis was getting help this week from Smith with her ingredient measurements for making muffins. Smith would talk to students about melting butter and later show them how to put a crumble topping on muffins.

“This is what they will look like…” she said.

The students were able to take home muffins.

Principal Tracy Cherry stopped by the lab to see the baking in progress.

Smith said they also brought muffins to school staff, including janitors, counselors and secretaries. They’ll give more to teachers, vice-principals and others, she said, to give them a taste of what’s going on in the lab.

In the program, careers are also covered in the fields of childcare, fashion, interior design and food.

Both Smith and Engebretsen hail from the Chicagoland area and went to Illinois State University. Smith has family in Danville, with a cousin who previously worked for the school district, and they were recruited at the ISU job fair.

Smith said she and Engebretsen were best friends, so it was exciting to be hired together to create the program from scratch.

“We love Central Illinois. We love the feel of it,” Smith said.

In January, for the new semester, they will have 10 classes – six food classes and four child development sections.

Smith said they had teachers who inspired them to teach family and consumer science.

She wanted to teach something fun, be directed to this program, and here she is.

“It starts with a teacher, doesn’t it?” she says.

It’s been a great experience for Engebretsen and Smith so far at DHS.

“It was fun. I love seeing the kids’ faces light up when I open the door, and it’s like, here’s the culinary room, and they’re like ‘oh yeah, I’m taking this class,'” she said.

“I just think it’s really special to be the person who gives them that,” she said. “They are so excited to have these classes here. It’s really special to give that in high school.