11/27/13 CREATURE CREATIONS
|Williams High class bakes up dog treats for field trip cash|
Photos by Sam Roberts / Times-News
By Isaac Groves The Times-News 11/27/13
Reprinted with permission.
|Senior Tyson Haith rolls out dough for dog treats inside the autism program classroom.|
A couple days a week, the smell of baking and cinnamon wafts down the second floor hall at Williams High School. “When we walk down the hall, all the kids stick their heads out and say, ‘I want one,’” said Jennifer Hogg, a teacher assistant with the school’s autism program. “And I say, ‘They’re dog bones.’”
They look surprised and lose interest, Hogg said.
The six students in Williams’ autism program mix the dough in their large classroom, roll it, cut it into Christmas or dog-friendly shapes, and hustle it down the hall to the oven in the food lab to bake.
It is a funny thing, said teacher John Osborne, since they had a hard time selling cookies last year. People would eat one cookie, but were too weight-conscious to buy more. They get excited about dog treats, though.
While senior Tyson Haith starts mixing the dough, Zach Farrington puts the baked and cooled bones into a box with six squares drawn on it, one in each square. He puts them in clear plastic bags, and ties them with silver twist ties. Jaiquese Pinnix helps with the packaging and places them in a laundry basket. Each bag has the name of the person who ordered them.
Most of the customers are teachers and staff at Williams. They get a bag of six all-natural dog treats for $5. The Bulldog Club is also trying to sell them.
The money is for the autism program, Osborne said. Whenever he wants to take the students out of school, such as to the post office to learn how to send a letter, he has to come up with the money.
“I want to get them out in the community as much as I can,” Osborne said.
For something really ambitious — like getting a kitchenette in the autism program’s classroom so the students can get daily life-skill lessons on cooking and cleaning — he has to come up with a lot of money.
The autism program at Williams is only in its second year, Osborne said. Autistic students in the Williams zone used to go to other schools. Now, there are six in the classroom and three other high-functioning students taking regular classes.
The classroom is large with a row of windows on one wall, two big pillars in the middle and off-white walls. The walls have a lot of posters, like most classrooms, and schedule charts with pictures.
Over the table with the mixer is a photo of the mixer and four eggs. The instructions read, “Put butter, pumpkin, eggs and flour into metal bowl.”
Haith, the senior, gets started. He is an old hand in the kitchen.
“Last year, I cooked breakfast, pizza, and cookies and muffins and brownies,” Haith said, “at school.”
Hogg prompts him now and then, reminding him to squeeze the can opener until it clicks, and “How many eggs?”
The serious young man seems to like the work.
“Tyson’s got the giggles,” Hogg says at least three times while he is mixing, kneading and rolling.
Classmate Liz Jennings responds with a loud giggle of her own from her desk partly behind a blue curtain at the end of the classroom.
Once the dough is ready, Josh Overman joins in to cut shapes with a cookie cutter, while Garrett Rippy decides to keep at his worksheet.
Haith is the only senior in the class. A graduation-candidate form sits on the teacher’s desk. It is bittersweet for his teachers, but he seems pretty excited about it.
Haith works one day a week at the Dollar Tree, mostly stocking and cleaning. He says he likes it, and it fits into his post-graduation plans when he is taking courses at Alamance Community College.
“I want to work at the Dollar Tree,” Haith said.
To purchase the dog treats, call Williams High School and ask for Osborne.