Patriot Culinary Students Prepare Breakfast for First Responders

| September 12, 2017 | 0 Comments | Education

Culinary Students serve homemade breakfast to Prince William police and other first responders. (L-R Kaelyn Bonat, Jack Bunk, Noah Wager, Emily Nason)

Patriot High School’s culinary program held its 4th Annual 9/11 Breakfast for first responders.

Chef and teacher Emily Stevenson’s Culinary I & II students prepared a breakfast of pancakes, French toast, bagels along with homemade muffins, sausage, quiche, cream cheese and butter.

“Breakfast isn’t enough to say thank you,” Stevenson said. “We just always love doing this. It’s so important. It’s a small token we can do to let our first responders know they are always in our thoughts.”

Since teaching at Patriot, Stevenson has organized this project as a way to give back. Most people remember where they were on 9/11, but Stevenson also remembers the personal anxiety, wondering if her life would be forever changed.

“It’s really intensively personal to me. I was expecting my second child. It was a stressful time. I couldn’t find my husband who had worked at the Pentagon,” said Stevenson. “I could only imagine these first responder folks and their families [and how they felt].”

Every year, Stevenson guides her students in organizing a breakfast to give back to local first responders who routinely sacrifice and at times risk life death for others.

“It keeps the memories alive. We celebrate those who in the face of adversity just go right in and help,” she said.

Her students, ages 16-18, were babies in 2001 or not even born yet. For them there was no “new normal,” but learning about the terror attacks helps put their lives and their nation in context.

“I was living in New York when it happened,” said Senior Michael Avvento, whose father is in the Coast Guard, ”but I don’t really remember.”

Student Chloe Betts serves bagels to first responders on 9/11 2017.

However, military children do know the sacrifice that 9/11 terrorist attacks brought to the military community as the United States engaged in Iraq, Afghanistan and established a greater presence in the Middle East. For some, the aftermath of 9/11 has been just as tragic.

“My entire life I’ve been a military child. I know a lot of people who have lost their dads, and it’s nice to give back,” said Emily Nason, 16.

Police who attended the breakfast were grateful to the students. Many were SEO officers who had close relationships with the schools.

Of the officers Bristow Beat spoke to, only Officer R.S. Berkebile was a police officer back on 9/11 in 2001. He said that he was in Warrenton at the time, and when he heard the call was available to patrol and fill in for those called to the Pentagon.

Others were much younger at the time, but appreciate the tribute they receive from the students.

“I do it to support the kids that put this on for us. Just let them know we appreciate it. And, the food’s great,” said Officer Ian Mack.

Detective Matt Martz said it is a unique event and he does not know of any other school that has done something similar.

Each year Patriot High School welcomes first responders on 9/11 with not only a breakfast but with a patriotic performance by the Patriot High School Marching Band.

Slideshow from First Responders Breakfast 2016

Superintendent Steven Walts, Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson (R), State Delegate Rich Anderson (R-51st) and Associate Superintendent for Prince William High Schools Mickey Mulgrew attended the band performance and culinary breakfast.

Patriot High School Principal Michael Bishop praised the culinary class.

“[Chef Stevens has been doing this] since the first year we opened, and I think it is important,” said Bishop. “It’s real world experience for the students. It puts the event that they weren’t alive for into perspective.”

Stevenson praised her students, saying they shined in last year’s competition in Florida.

© 2017, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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