It was as if the jack-o-lanterns in the kitchen at Kenmore High School had found a reason to smile.
The smirks on the pumpkins were put there by culinary art students working with peers who have multiple disabilities.
Each year, the foodies from Laura Hannah’s class bond with the students from Deb Taschner’s class, a reminder that unique friendships can be made in a wonderfully diverse world.
Students often don’t stray from their social orbits, principal Gini Rasnick said, “so it’s great to see how they can learn to work and collaborate together.”
Siearra Larson couldn’t find the words to express how much fun she had helping to draw the eyes and eyebrows on her pumpkin, but her face lit up as she watched culinary art student Yanique Watson cut out the features and bring the creation to life.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Yanique, 17, said of the activity. “It’s nice that they get out of the classroom and get to do this with us.”
Josiah Meadows and Monique Ford, from Taschner’s class, admitted they’d never turned a pumpkin into a decoration before.
“But I like arts and crafts,” Monique said, drawing a comparison to the work of designing and carving her pumpkin.
After 12 pumpkins were given their happy or spooky visages, the students assembled in the school’s restaurant-style nook, the Cardinal Room, and shared pumpkin cookies, spiced pumpkin seeds and pumpkin roll made by Hannah’s students.
The school’s culinary program has been around for decades. In addition to teaching cooking skills, participating juniors and seniors get the opportunity to cater school and private events.
Senior Darion Beasley said food is one thing that unites people of all backgrounds.
“We can work together to create one dish,” he said — or in the case of Halloween, to put a grin on a ghoulish gourd.