Back in 2012, Sippican School sixth-grader Julia Winters was in Vermont with her mother, Christine, when they decided to stop at the King Arthur Flour company. The younger Winters, who has a budding passion for cooking and baking, was interested to see the home base of a familiar brand.
“They have a store and a mini-kitchen where they show you how to make certain foods,” she said.
Weeks later, her mother was surfing around the company’s website and found a special program that combined education with community outreach.
The “King Arthur Flour Life Skills Bread Baking Program” seeks to teach young students about the inner workings behind baking bread and it gives them the tools to help their communities with their new-found knowledge.
“We thought it’d be a nice way to show the kids at Sippican School the science behind bread,” said Julia, who also has a food blog dedicated to her culinary experiments.
Her mother, who is on the Marion School Committee, decided to help float the idea to the school’s administration and broached it to Sippican School principal, Evelyn Rivet.
“During the summer, we sent emails out to people like [ORR Junior High principal] Kevin Brigioli and [Assistant Superintendent] Dr. Elise Frangos. Mrs. Frangos investigated further and found that there was a community service aspect to the project,” said Rivet.
Here is how the program works. Representatives from the flour company hold a special assembly for the students, where they learn about the bread-making process, including the chemical reactions associated with the use of yeast. At the end of the assembly, the students are given two bread-making kits with all the ingredients. They bake one loaf for their family and one loaf to be distributed to a community outreach service chosen by the school.
There was one catch: Sippican School didn’t meet the minimum number of required students in order for the program.
“We managed to get other schools involved, so students from Sippican School, ORR Junior High, Old Hammondtown, and Rochester Memorial School will all be baking bread,” said Rivet.
“I’m very excited for it because it’s learning and it’s helping others. It’s like two-in-one,” said Winters.
All told, about 900 students across five grades will be taking part in the baking activity. The donated loaves will be distributed to four South Coast community groups: the Marion Council on Aging, Friendship Table, Mercy Meals & More, and PACE.
“This is an amazing project,” said Rivet. “It’s a wonderful way to connect education and community out-reach. It involves science and math but has such a far-reaching effect.”
The assembly will be held at Sippican School on January 10, where Winters herself will be assisting the flour company representatives in their presentation. The students will then receive their kits to be baked that weekend for distribution on January 14.
By Eric Tripoli