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ACE dinner combines food, families, fun at Fairley

A successful launch of the Academic and Community Enrichment program at Fairley Elementary School last year has translated into a great start for 2013-14, with a community dinner punctuating that success Thursday night.

Eighteen first and second grade students who participate in the after-school program helped make appetizers and desserts, prepare salads and create placemats for the dinner, with Canale’s providing baked ziti as the main course.

Fairley Elementary School teacher Lynn Bullard serves a plate full of baked ziti and Italian bread to student Chloe Sinko during an Academic and Community Enrichment program dinner Thursday night.
Fairley Elementary School teacher Lynn Bullard serves a plate full of baked ziti and Italian bread to student Chloe Sinko during an Academic and Community Enrichment program dinner Thursday night.

In addition to the students, their families and Canale’s, several Fairley teachers and staff members worked together to make the meal a reality. “We have Lynn Bullard, who is our master chef,” said school psychologist Geri Seward. “She plans dinner at her church every week, so she knows how to buy in bulk and prepare in bulk. She is the queen of this dinner. She knows exactly what she’s doing. It’s really fabulous to have someone like her.”

As teachers served nearly 75 meals to those in attendance, parents and students expressed their appreciation for the program.

“I like it, and I know they love it,” said Heather Hamrick, whose daughters Chloe and Lexus Sinko participate in ACE. “They’re eager to come to these events.”

The meal is just one of the many offerings provided through the after-school initiative.

Beth Renee and her sons Bradley Salisbury and Austin Salisbury enjoy their salads during the Academic and Community Enrichment program dinner Thursday night in the Fairley Elementary School cafeteria.
Beth Renee and her sons Bradley Salisbury and Austin Salisbury enjoy their salads during the Academic and Community Enrichment program dinner Thursday night in the Fairley Elementary School cafeteria.

“We do 45 minutes of academics every day too, and then we do a project or craft. We’ve done all kinds of things. We’ve done yoga, we’ve had people come in, talk with them … a little bit of everything,” Seward said.

According to first-grade teacher Telia Tomayo, the program enriches the lives of students and their families and connects them with school in a positive way.

“We like to get the students and families here and involved, and this program does that,” she said.