Students in the Edison High School Life Skills class have received updated equipment to help them learn to become more independent.
The class, which is now in its fourth year, includes eight special needs students in grades 7-12 who have gained skills for home and work, but the advent of the coronavirus has limited their lessons. However, teacher Ron Ferrell said updated appliances are helping his pupils attain some domestic know-how to be successful. The Richmond United Methodist Church donated a new stove for the program while the school district also acquired a refrigerator to replace an outdated appliance.
“The church contacted [district Administrative Assistant] Fatima Smuck to see if anyone needed help and she referred them to me,” Ferrell added, saying he was grateful to Smuck, the district and the church for their support and every bit benefits the program. “Students learn basic cooking, cleaning and laundry skills. By the time they are seniors, they can do a lot on their own.”
Smuck noted her gratitude to the church for its generosity and said the program makes an impact on the students’ lives.
“We are so appreciative for the many contributions from the members of the church and for member Janice Kiaski being the liaison,” she added. “The students in the Life Skills class are learning lifelong skills while enjoying every minute of it!”
Meanwhile, Ferrell said his students had also completed jobs inside and outside the school until COVID-19 put tasks on hold.
“We have a job program where the older kids would go to work, but they can’t do that now because of COVID. They’ve worked at King’s Restaurant, did janitorial work at Lighthouse Church and worked at Sign America in Richmond. They also did work at the school serving lunch, working in the kitchen and cleaning tables prior to the virus.”
They still manage to feed school staff each Thursday and donations for those meals help support the program. Students hone their abilities by creating simple, five-ingredient meals such as pizza, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches and spaghetti and enjoy the experience.
“I like this class,” said Hannah Hendrix, a seventh-grader in the program. “I make new friends and help cook at home.”
“I like to eat,” added senior Kameron Wright. “Eating helps with football a lot.”
Senior Autumn Wright said her knowledge enables her to help at home and her mother even designates a night for her to cook meals for the family, giving her opportunities to make macaroni and cheese and pasta. Ferrell said the students ultimately receive a cookbook of recipes they can make in class and at home.