Hampstead NC (WWAY) — From cooking empanadas and slicing avocados to deep-frying street corn fritters and plating Mexican hot chocolate pies, students in the Family and Consumer Sciences class at Topsail High School are learning more than how to prepare a delicious meal.
From the dishwasher to the grill cook, every student in this commercial-grade kitchen has a designated role.
Sophomore Carrina Shugarts wants to own a bakery one day and says this class is helping her learn what it will take to make her dream a reality.
“Its teaching me how to make desserts more efficiently and quicker and how to work together as a team instead of doing what I’m used to doing which is baking by myself at my house,” Shugarts said.
Her teacher is Kelly Painter who’s taught at the school for 16 years.
Because of the amazing job she’s doing to expand the culinary program at the school and expose students to careers in the field, we picked her as our WWAY and Wilmington Granite “Teacher of the Week.”
One project Painter has her students work on each week involves planning, prepping and preparing a meal for ‘Pirates Den’ which functions like a restaurant.
“It’s a meal that we provide for our staff,” said THS Assistant Principal Crystal Hall. “The kids get to showcase everything they’re working on.”
Back in the kitchen, it feels like one of those high-stakes cooking competitions on TV as students rush to get everything prepared before the teachers arrive.
So what does Painter enjoy most about teaching?
“I just feel like teachers have a way to speak to the generation of kids that’s coming up that a lot of people don’t have and I take that seriously,” she said. “I just see that as a calling.”
In addition to teaching, Painter is also the school’s Family Career Community Leaders of America advisor. She trains and prepares students for state and national competitions, and over the years, students have earned a number of top honors.
So what does Painter think about being ‘Teacher of the Week?’
“Hey, this is cool,” she said. “A teacher learns how to be flexible and you deal with whatever is sent your way whether it’s good, bad, ugly or fun.”
If you know an exceptional teacher worthy of recognition, click here to nominate them for our WWAY Teacher of the Week sponsored by Wilmington Granite. Each week’s winner receives a $100 gift card.