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EPISD Education Foundation Teacher Grants help students

EPISD Education Foundation Irvin Grant  EPISD Education Foundation Irvin Grant  EPISD Education Foundation Irvin Grant  EPISD Education Foundation Irvin Grant  EPISD Education Foundation Irvin Grant  EPISD Education Foundation Irvin Grant

(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT -- May 3, 2019) — Teachers throughout the District are putting the EPISD Education Foundation grants they received to good use.

Irvin High School teacher Sonja Quintero used her extra funds to beef up her food science students’ food truck project and pay for their food handler’s certificates. 

Quintero’s students showcase their knowledge and culinary skills during their annual showcase this week which required them to design a pint-sized food truck to display alongside a sample menu item. Sweet and savory smells of food truck fare filled the food science lab as students busily baked pizzas, made homemade tortillas for quesadillas, and made enchiladas, churros, Korean barbeque, sliders and other menu items. 

“I had no idea we’d make such extensive food in this class,” said senior Dylan Brito, who made flan as part of his team’s food truck El Wuarito. “We have gotten to bond with each other over making food in general. It’s been fun.”

Quintero walked around the room checking out her students’ creativity – both from the building of their food trucks to the foods they cooked up. The extra funding from the foundation gave her program a boost this year, allowing her to pay for 50 students to receive food handler’s cards and extra equipment and materials for her classroom. 

“Every little penny helps me because a lot of it I can just take out of my own pocket to cover what I need when I'm short,” Quintero said of her 2018 grant. “The foundation money was a great resource for me.” 

The food handler’s certification gives the students more knowledge and an edge if they decide to start their own food truck or work in another area of the foodservice industry.

“For me it means, the certification means I have more experience and more extensive knowledge,” Brito said. 

Chef Samuel Rivera Jr., a former Irvin student and chef at the Greenery, made his way to every food truck, tasting and talking to the student chefs. He asked questions, offered advice and ultimately judged them on taste and creativity.

“I’m super impressed by how organized the kids are at this age and how much they know. I’m so surprised that they were able to take them through sanitation class,” he said. “They're above what I thought they would be when I got here. I'm super impressed by the children. It shows how good their teacher is.”

Quintero was one of more than 20 EPISD teachers to receive a foundation grant in 2018. Teachers needing up to $1,000 in their classroom to do an innovative project in 2019-20 school year have through June 17 to apply for a grant at episd.org/educationfoundation. Grants will be awarded in the fall.

Story by Reneé de Santos
Photos by Erika Reyes