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Just the FCS: It's more than cooking
new slt food-girls
Riley Jones, left, and Bethany Reiser check websites and consult with instructor Kerri Batman about possible table decoration ideas for a school board luncheon, Thursday during a class at Great Bend High School. Students will prepare lunch for the school board meeting Nov. 19 at GBHS. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

GBHS students will donate items to the Great Bend Education Foundation fundraiser. See the story at

Eating breakfast and searching the Internet may not be daily classroom assignments, but these activities have their place at Great Bend High School. The students in Kerri Batman’s Nutrition & Wellness 2 class did both Thursday.
The class is part of the Family & Consumer Science (FCS) department – what the students’ parents knew as Home Economics up until 1994. There are 11 boys and girls in the class, all seniors who passed the introductory class. There’s a lot to learn in addition to how to cook.
“We feel it’s important for the teenagers to learn the importance of nutrition now and through their life cycles,” Batman said.
Thursday morning, students ate Mexican egg casserole and fruit slushies, leftover from the day before when they served breakfast to more than 20 veterans for Veterans Day.
As for the Internet, Batman asked the students to brainstorm ideas for a lunch they will serve to school board members this week. GBHS teachers look for ways to incorporate technology into lessons, but the students with smartphones were already adept at searching Pinterest, Party City and Batman asked them to email her their ideas for a table theme related to education.
Something with apples, pencils or rulers, perhaps? One student suggested a Dr. Seuss theme, with green eggs and ham. Riley Jones suggested writing the menu on small chalk boards, while Daniela Reyes suggested sunflowers. Kori Birzer had a winter theme in mind.
FCS classes also teach problem solving, Batman said. Students need to think about how messy snow cones can be, or whether ice cream served at 11:30 will melt by noon. As with the veterans’ breakfast, the class will need to prepare the lunch a day ahead, so it is ready to heat and serve.
“We have to consider cost, because we’re on a budget,” she reminded the students.
“Try to remember the ‘meal appeal’ factors,” Batman said as the students contemplated their menu. They listed factors to consider: Color, flavor, temperature, size and shape, and texture. There needs to be variety, Batman said. “If you have meatballs that are round, you wouldn’t want to serve peas.”
Part of the school’s community service budget goes to class projects such as the veterans’ breakfast. Students arrived early that day to get the meal on the table. One student, Abby Stiner, was there by 7:40 a.m. – almost 30 minutes early.
The students will also make a Maple Nut Twist to donate to the Great Bend USD 428 Education Foundation fundraiser on Nov. 24. “They have been experimenting with other quick-bread recipes,” Batman said, adding there may be a bread basket or some pecan pralines for the auction. “It depends on how they turn out.