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Summer program features food

The Tidewater Regional Governor’s School hosted an open house Thursday afternoon that featured an international feast made by the students.

The open house was to present the students with a certificate of completion for the two-week STEAM program. STEAM is for science, technology, engineering, art and math.

The theme for the program was “Cooking with Chemistry,” and the students had the chance to pick a country, do research on its culture and cook two food items from that culture for their final project.

“We present them with the final project in the beginning and what they need to learn to do it,” said gifted resource teacher Megan Farabaugh. “They got to do research on different countries and their spices and different flavors.”

The students learned culinary arts skills and the science behind them, such as physical and chemical changes, mixtures and solutions, preservation methods, measurements and conversions, and kitchen safety. Additionally, students researched how to prepare various types of cultural cuisines, flavor profiles associated with various countries, and careers in culinary arts.

There were 26 students participating from various Suffolk middle schools and elementary schools.

Most of the kids didn’t know how to cook before the program, and they enjoyed learning.

“I really liked all of it, but my favorite was learning how to cook really well,” said Pioneer Elementary School student Travis Rustay, 10. “I’m going to start cooking at home too.”

All of the students donned their aprons after receiving their certificates to help serve their families with mini samples of the food. They made one sweet and one savory item from each of the countries they researched, including Jamaica, France and Mexico.

Though they learned to cooked they also learned the culture of other countries.

“The Jamaican culture was so interesting, and I really liked learning about it,” said Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School student Gabriela Bahena, 8. “It was really fun cooking all of it.”

The program was filled with edible science experiments as well. The students made bread in a bag, homemade butter and ice cream in a bag.

The students enjoyed being a part of the creative process.

Makaiah Masha, 11, had the most fun putting together the board for their Mexican research, and she also enjoyed participating in some of the chemistry experiments.

The Tidewater Regional Governor’s School is a summer STEAM program for identified gifted students from third to sixth grade from four municipalities in southeastern Virginia — Suffolk, Isle of Wight County, Franklin and Southampton County.