Monday, October 14, 2019


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Real Pirates
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor

Culinary arts student Camilla Brisborne from Pottsgrove High School drizzles syrup over pineapple upside down cake served for dessert.

        It truly was a culmination of cross-curriculums of Upper Perkiomen High School (UPHS) and the Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center (WMCTC).

        Students from instructor Judith Miller's reading class recently completed a study of the Whydah, and last Thursday's luncheon would put an exclamation point on what was learned. 

        The Whydah was a ship that carried slaves from Africa to the Caribbean until its capture by Pirate Captain Sam Bellamy in 1715.  For the next two years, the vessel roamed the seas as a pirate ship until it sank in 1717.

        The crew of the Whydah were ordinary seamen, indentured servants, escaped slaves, free black men, runaway plantation workers, Africans freed from slave ships taken at sea and political dissidents.  Their two-year reign of plundering vessels and engaging in high-seas robbery was brought to light with a series of articles and museum exhibits when the ship's bell and more were recovered in 1984 off the coast of Cape Code by underwater archaeological explorer Barry Clifford. 

        To culminate the learning experience, the students participated in a "Pirates Caribbean Feast" themed luncheon at the WMCTC.  Organized by Miller, it was an event that presented an opportunity to bring together the talents of students from several different curriculums.  Life Skills instructor Jennifer Bamford and paraprofessional Beverly Ayers also accompanied the students on the learning voyage.

        The dining room at the center took on a festive look with pirate-themed cutouts, made by students of the early education class, taped to the windows.  Tables were beautified by plants, courtesy of the center's horticultural students.  Professional-looking placemats and menus were designed and printed by students of the graphic arts classes. 

        Prior to lunch, a series of images depicting the story of the Whydah skipped across a big screen, while a string ensemble of students from UPHS, under the direction of Dr. Mark Thomas,  serenaded attendees with a melody of island tunes worthy of any Captain Jack Sparrow movie score.

        The menu was fitting for any swashbuckler who ever flew the Jolly Roger in the West Indies.  It consisted of Caribbean jerk chicken, red beans and rice, Caribbean bread (Johnny-Cakes) and a medley of stir-fried veggies.  It was topped off with pineapple upside-down cake for dessert.  Students from the early education class stopped in to sing a song of buccaneers during the dessert course.

        Roaming the "galley" was a good way to survey the students for their favorites.  Junior Elizabeth Lauffer enjoyed the jerk chicken, sophomore Jeremy Reinert favored the Johnny-Cakes and senior Jacky Hinz Sr. liked cakes and the chicken.  Junior Anthony Wolfe said he was partial to the red beans and rice.

        Joining the students for the event and pleased with the multi-educational opportunity, UPHS principal Rob Carpenter commented, "This is a wonderful way to bring curriculums together and enhance learning."

        Near the close of the event, this writer had the opportunity to indulge in the fruits of the labors of instructor Ken Kauffman and the students of his WMCTC culinary class.  In the opinion of this trencherman, the presentation, quality and taste of this simple, healthy and inexpensive meal was one that any five-star restaurant would be proud to serve.

        At the close of the event, Miller addressed the gathering and summed up her thoughts on capping off the leaning experience and cross-curriculum event by saying, "I'm so proud of all of you."





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