It’s Been a Bubbly Adventure!

A Career Skills Year in Review

Haley Riolo is interviewed by Gus Rosendale while Max Michinko serves breakfast.

Sarah Barnes, Contributor

The Career Skills students have seen a tremendous number of new programs and activities over the last few years. Mrs. Sarah Barnes and her staff have developed an innovative curriculum for their students. We asked Ms. Barnes if she would recap the exciting year.

Guest Chef
This year our team decided to try something new. We wanted the Career Skills students to be exposed to other “teachers” in the building while learning how to cook. In addition, many students have limited diets, so we wanted to spice things up. We started a “Guest Chef” program where we asked staff members to come in with their favorite recipes and cook with our students. We had three “Guest Chefs” and had more planned for the spring, but since we are distance learning, those did not happen. Mr. Mullane came and made Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Burritos. Dr. Bandlow made a beautiful cornucopia for our Thanksgiving Feast, and Mrs. Horler came and made chili. Next year, we hope to have a Guest Chef at least once a month.

Bears’ Coffee Den
We had the pleasure of teaming with the food service department, Cathy Hancock, Jean Drohan and Grace Egan to bring the Coffee Den to the BHS Cafeteria. Our students designed it from the ground up. They came up with the name, Mrs. Barnes designed the logo, and the students painted the wall and logo. Once the Coffee Den was opened, the Career Skills students worked there on a rotating schedule during periods 1-3. They handed out samples, took orders, and helped prepare drinks. During slow times, they helped prepare lunch and cleaned the area so it would be ready for the next day. They learned how to interact with people, how to use gloves to maintain sanitary conditions.

Level 2 Career Skills
ELA Students began a mentoring/buddy program with Ms. Loftus’s kindergarten and first grade special education class. The high school students visited their JFK buddies in November and created Thanksgiving place mats and Thankful Trees. In December, the JFK buddies visited the high school and made salt dough Christmas ornaments and snowmen out of fake snow. The Career Skills class planned and prepared all materials for the activities and then taught the skills necessary to create the holiday crafts. It was a special experience.

Festival of Trees
Ann’s Place, located in Danbury CT, provides help and hope to individuals with cancer. They, and their loved ones,are provided a host of free professional services aimed at improving quality of life during and after cancer. Festival of Trees is an invitation to the community to participate in a family friendly holiday gathering. It is the largest annual fundraiser for Ann’s Place. The Bubbly Bears does laundry twice a week for Ann´s Place and has established a positive volunteer/working relationship with them. The Bubbly Bears decorated and donated three thematic trees for the event and inspired seven BHS groups to do the same: Semper Fi, Habitat for Humanity, Brewster Students Against Cancer, Science Honor Society, Robotics Club, Model UN and the Senior Class. In all, Brewster High School donated twelve trees to the festival.

NBC News Live at Brewster High School
On Tuesday, February 25, the Bubbly Bears were featured on a live broadcast with Gus Rosendale from NBC News. Students arrived before the sun at 4:45 AM with big smiles and ready to show off their laundry business. Students sorted, folded, washed and dried sports uniforms, towels and linens from their clients. The Bubbly Bears provide services both in their school community as well as for local agencies like AON Physical Therapy, The Tim Tebow Foundation, and Ann’s Place Community-Based Cancer Support in Danbury. The students were so happy to show off their skills for the camera. As there is so much more to Career Skills than laundry, our students also hosted a delicious breakfast that they cooked for Gus Rosendale and his crew. Most of all, we totally enjoyed seeing ourselves on TV! Are we famous? You bet!

Pen Pals
Level 1 Career Skills ELA students have forged friendships with their peers at Carmel High School. The students began getting to know each other through weekly emails. They shared information about themselves, like their favorite movies, sports and foods. They also compared events that were going on in their schools and how they spent their weekends. Our pen pals were excited to watch our segment on NBC News and asked questions like, “Did you like being on TV?” The class really looked forward to these communications and they learned how to navigate email. This experience helped develop language and writing skills, but even better, we developed friendships. The pen pals were scheduled to meet in person at Carmel Spins Bowl in March,but unfortunately, due to COVID-19 closure, we had to postpone our meeting to next year.

We can’t wait to see what roads the Bubbly Bears take next year!