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Culinary classes cook up cheerful community

Students+in+Judy+Saler%E2%80%99s+cooking+class+whip+up+some+dough.+According+to+sophomore+Ritika+Singh%2C+both+the+delicious+treats+and+warm+atmosphere+created+by+Saler+make+cooking+a+relaxing+elective.+Sarah+Hughes%2FSagamore+Staff
Students in Judy Saler’s cooking class whip up some dough. According to sophomore Ritika Singh, both the delicious treats and warm atmosphere created by Saler make cooking a relaxing elective. Sarah Hughes/Sagamore Staff

Students in Judy Saler’s cooking class whip up some dough. According to sophomore Ritika Singh, both the delicious treats and warm atmosphere created by Saler make cooking a relaxing elective. Sarah Hughes/Sagamore Staff

Students in Judy Saler’s cooking class whip up some dough. According to sophomore Ritika Singh, both the delicious treats and warm atmosphere created by Saler make cooking a relaxing elective. Sarah Hughes/Sagamore Staff

Sophie Hafner, Staff Writer

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The dreary students lay their heads on their desks. It is fourth period, and they are tired, hungry and bored. Suddenly, the smell of freshly baked cookies wafts through the door, waking them all up as a student walks in with a heaping plate of warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies.

Some of the most popular electives at the high school are cooking classes. For many students, these energetic classes provide a well-deserved break from a normal school day and teach them how to work together for a common goal: Delicious food.

Sophomore Ritika Singh has taken two cooking classes. Singh said that she thinks cooking classes are popular because of the well-loved teachers.

“One of the reasons students enjoy cooking classes so much is because of the wonderful teachers like Saler,” Singh said.

Cooking and baking teacher Judy Saler began her career as a professional chef, and then went to school to become an art teacher. She then started working as a special education teacher, using art as a way to help teach disabled children. After that, she moved to Brookline and started job searching.

“I applied for a few jobs as a special education teacher in Boston, and I also applied for a few jobs as a chef. It was the month that I came back in August that I saw that Brookline High School was looking for a culinary arts teacher and I thought, ‘Oh my God, that is combining two things I have done in my career,’” Saler said.

Saler said that she loves cooking because it is a good way to give love.

“The most rewarding part of my job is the interpersonal relationships with the students, seeing them grow, seeing them come back and say, ‘I made that thing for my mom and she really loved it.’ Having them really utilize the work, that’s exciting for me,” Saler said.

Singh said that she appreciates what Saler brings to the class.

“I love Ms. Saler. Her life has been so exciting. She has lived all over the world. She was part of the army at one point, and she lived in all these countries and is just a really amazing person who loves kids, and kids love her,” Singh said.

Sophomore Silas Reed said that he has thoroughly enjoyed the cooking classes he has taken.

“I like being able to talk with my friends in the class, and it’s a good way to relax,” Reed said.

Sophomore Ben Simon said that he thinks cooking classes have encouraged him to bake and cook more outside of school.

“I think it’s something that your average public school doesn’t have the ability to have in the budget, but we have these really nice kitchens and these great instructors,” Simon said.

Singh said that she thinks cooking classes are a fun way to alleviate stress and build relationships.

“I think cooking classes are the best way to team build because what do high schoolers love most? Food,” Singh said.

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Culinary classes cook up cheerful community