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Blue Mountain Academy students cook, serve traditional dishes at International Food Fair

By , The Berks-Mont News

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Blue Mountain Academy students served up some unique and traditional dishes around lunch time on July 3 in the Gallery of Hamburg during the International Food Fair.

The middle school students are part of BMA’s Summer Boost Camp which is an enhancement program designed to increase academic skills such as math and reading. During the six week program, the students focus heavily on their academics in the morning and during the afternoons connect with the community with different projects that fit the theme of that week.

Last week was “Culture and Community.” The students were visited by different people in the community that represented one of four countries. Each speaker spoke briefly about life in that country and traditions. They then taught the students how to make a traditional meal which the students then made to serve during the food fair explained Esther Reese of Blue Mountain Academy.

“It’s a way to have the kids be able to connect with the community,” said Reese.

Approximately 20 students were set up between the four tables which represented Ukraine, Mexico, India and Saint Lucia. Accompanying the students were the community members who taught them how to make the dishes that they were serving.

The pilot program helps the students boost their academic skills, develop their social skills and allows them to participate in fun activities that also involve learning.

“We want it to be a practical way for the kids to learn,” said Reese. “It’s good for them.”

Dishes featured at the event were red borscht soup and potato pancakes at the Ukraine table, tacos at the Mexico table, rice with vegetables and spicy curry at the India table and mango salsa and tilapia at the Saint Lucia table.

The students not only had the chance to learn about and make traditional food from these countries, but also able to meet residents of Hamburg who stopped in for a taste.

So far this summer, the program that provides visual learning as well as hands-on learning, has featured other themes such as “Who am I” which included a trip to GoggleWorks and this current week is “Leadership and Integrity.”

For more information about the Summer Boost Camp at BMA visit