The Penn Post


March 2017

Culinary Prostart Heads to Nationals

By Samantha Stevenson 


Chef Matthew Vaughan and Prostart competitor Kaitlin Luciano pose in front of the culinary classroom March 20. Luciano has been taking culinary classes since her freshman year. 

Since October the culinary room has been filled with delicious smells produced by William Penn’s Culinary ProStart team. The state competition held on March 10 in the Chase Center on the Wilmington Riverfront featured high school culinary teams from across the state.  Both Penn teams placed first out of the 11 schools that competed.

ProStart is the culinary curriculum that is taught to high school students. Tryouts for Penn’s team were held in September and the team officially started in October. Kaitlin Luciano, a senior in William Penn’s culinary program stated that for tryouts they each had to make a dish with gnocchi.

“For you to join, you have to be devoted on Tuesdays and Thursdays and any other kind of additional practice. You also have to work long hours and to work hard,” Luciano said.

This dedication has helped with the future skills of students who wish to pursue the career. “It gave me a reason to come to school,” Luciano said.

In addition to the motivation, it has impacted her career choice as well. “In fall I’m going to Johnson & Wales University for Culinary Arts,” said Luciano. 

William Penn have three chefs that guide students in the culinary program: Matthew Vaughn, Kip Poole, and Ian  Baker. These chefs help students prepare for the intense competition. For the competition, students are broken up into two teams: cooking and management.

“Culinary team has to produce 3 dishes in one hour. They have to do an appetizer, entree and a dessert. They are only allowed to have 2 camp stove burners and no refrigeration. No electricity, no battery operated. It’s very hard,” Vaughan said. “

Students made an octopus appetizer (Spanish octopus over a heresa quinoa with puffed masa tortillas), a lamb entree (lamb loin over top of a potato risotto, pea and mushroom ragu), and  a donut dessert (a beet glazed donut with a goat cheese creme and orange whipped cream and a raspberry sauce and pistachio). 

Since the Colonials won first place, the Culinary ProStart team made it to Nationals held on April 28 in Charleston, South Carolina. Students will be gone for a week and they will compete against schools from all over the country. Last year the students got to go to Las Vegas to eat at restaurant run by famous chefs. The prize for winning is scholarships to help the students further their career in cooking.


Chess Club Offers Challenge, Competition

Challenging, thought provoking, and fun—all words that are used to describe William Penn’s Chess Club run by science teacher Jon-Eric Burgees and senior Hayden Rhudd.

The two made the decision to run chess club due to their love of chess. Burgess said he has been playing chess for 30 plus years; Rhudd, since the 2nd grade.  

There are other benefits that come from being in chess club besides learning how to play chess. While most can use it to improve their game, the group around them is entertaining as well. “It’s a great group of students, it’s a lot of fun. We really have a good time together,” Burgess said.

Everyone is welcome to join, no matter the level of experience. The only skills that would be good to have are the ability to think ahead, be a good sport, and learn to enjoy improving your skills and techniques by losing.

“In order to join, you just need to go and show up and sign the sign in sheet that is passed around and once you signed in you are officially a member of the Chess Club,” Burgess said.

Chess Club meets on Thursdays after school in E118 until four o’clock when students take the four o’clock busses home. Chess Club started back in October 2016 but students are still welcome to join.

FFA Week Features Penn’s Future Farmers

By Trish Vo

Last week, William Penn’s Future Farmers of America (FFA), led by William Penn teachers, Karen Ferrucci, Kelly Vaughan, and Kathleen Pickard, celebrated FFA week—an event meant to identify opportunities available to students in a way that engages them, all while celebrating the club’s history and the skills learned within it.  and The National FFA Organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. It is the largest Nationwide Youth Organization in the world.

FFA week was planned and executed by the student officers—Nicole Webb, Laura Hernandez-Ojeda, Sydney Poe, Semaj Bungy-Carter, Damien Cook, and Ashlyn Jordan.

During FFA week, club members have fun dress up days. The themes decided upon were College Gear Day, FFA Gear Day, and Blue and Gold Gear Day, with an open house held on Friday.

A Greenhand Mock Training was led by the student officers within the club that highlighted the history and opportunities of FFA, and, in interest of community involvement a leadership training workshop was held, put on by their FFA President: Webb. Another meeting was open in the evening for parents to make gratitude flower arrangements. On Friday, other classes had the chance to look in on the class and get involved in agriculture.

Participation in FFA lets students gain leadership and teamwork skills, helping students become college and career ready. Their students gain knowledge in class about their chosen career, which they can apply to a more specialized area of interest through their Supervised Agriculture Experience projects (a self-chosen project that they complete outside of school.) FFA gives them the opportunity to attend leadership workshops and participate in various Career Development Events throughout the year. Career Development Events are competitions that are directly designed based off of career required skills expressed by employers.

Through FFA, parents can learn about the different opportunities available to their students. FFA Officers earn requirements towards higher degrees and awards through the Delaware FFA. The students earn high level degrees with FFA; two were earned last year, and seven were awarded this year. The club cultivates a relationship with George Read Middle School and considers itself very diverse.

William Penn’s FFA is still growing, though—the number of members have increased from last year to this year, and they also have more students attending the upcoming FFA State Convention in March. FFA is always welcoming new members.

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