Skilled to Work: Bryan County Middle School’s Family Consumer Science class

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 1:51 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 25, 2023 at 5:33 PM EDT
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BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Bryan County Middle School has a state championship banner to hang, thanks to four friends and their skills they’re learning in a pathway this year.

“I just kind of did it to like hang out with my friends,” BCMS 7th grader Makenna Raegan said. She joined fellow 7th graders, Blaire Oliver, Anna Tarpley and Isabella Collins to compete in the Georgia Dept. of Education’s Student Chef Competition.

“It’s definitely more advanced than cooking ramen noodles in my kitchen, ” Tarpley said

From a fun time with friends, to a potential pathway for the future, the four have grown together in the first year of the Family Consumer Science class at Bryan County Middle School.

“I try to do something hands on at least three times a week with them, get them up moving around, socializing, teamwork,” their teacher Amanda Shafer said.

It’s the first year for Amanda Shafer too, who joined Bryan County as a teacher and advisor for Family Career Community Leaders of America.

Together, they made school history. Their recipe for Mexican Street Corn Salad won the state cooking competition’s middle school division.

“We we’re all screaming and we were so excited,” Raegan said.

“To put Bryan County on the map is very exciting,” Shafer said.

The Student Chef Competition is open to schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program. Recipes had to include one Georgia grown item, be enough to make six servings and follow these nutrition maximum guidelines: 400 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat and 375 mg sodium content per serving.

“I’m a very picky eater, so it has to be a certain way and this has definitely helped me get out of that comfort zone,” Oliver said.

The recipe was a work in progress for these novice chefs.

“When we first made it, it was not that tasty,” Tarpley said. “I didn’t know that we were gonna be able to perfect it and make it as good as it was today.”

“We experimented a lot,” Collins said.

In the end, they landed on a winning recipe for the dish and the team.

“I found a great group of kids who were dedicated and determined and were positive,” Shafer said. “We worked with each other and it was just amazing to see them come together and grow and prosper and learn as young adults.”

Ideas for something new are already simmering.

“I’ll be at a restaurant and try something and I’ll be like, that’s good, I’m gonna make it at home,” Collins said.