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Serving up Life Skills: A new space at Southern Door High School brings new opportunities

Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 03, 2023
  • Video shows students using the new culinary classroom at Southern Door High School.
  • The classroom was funded by a referendum that was passed last November.
  • The classroom can help students develop life skills for work and to cook for themselves in the future.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

They're cooking, baking, sauteing and whipping up some dishes here at Southern Door High School. I'm your Door County neighborhood reporter Katlyn Holt with a look inside a new kitchen that is preparing students for the future in the culinary world.

"I really love what I teach, because it is hands-on life skills," said Monfils.

Jessica Monfils has taught at Southern Door High School for the last three years as a family consumer sciences teacher.

Her old classroom was one space, used for several consumer science classes.

The list includes: Regional and ethnic foods, culinary arts, baking and pastry, nutrition and wellness, parent and child development, teaching youth, and introduction to health careers.

"It was a one size fits all," said Monfils.

Now there's more room and Monfils says having this new culinary space is important.

"I tell the students all the time we live in a very tourist-based area, and people come expecting to have good meals and so how do we- how might you get a job in that?" said Monfils.

Besides culinary careers, Monfils says it helps students learn how to cook for themselves.

Student Jessica Melville says the new space is a big improvement.

"You're not like elbow-to-elbow with other people. You got your workspace and you got it's just a lot easier," said Melville.

Melville said the old equipment was difficult to use and the upgrades have made it easier to learn.

Student Mariska LaLuzerne agrees.

"When I’m just like cooking at home or something, if I do something wrong, it's hard to like know that and know how to fix it," said LaLuzerne.

Jason Melotte is the business manager for the Southern Door County School District. He says the culinary classroom upgrades were a part of a referendum that was passed last November.

He says the upgrades are good for students and the local economy.

"Door county is a very service-oriented employer. So having our students ready for that experience, that kitchen experience, the commercial kitchen experience will be a great asset to them," said Melotte.

And for Monfils, she's looking forward to the future.

"Students can learn some of this industry skills but can also learn the basic life skills they need," said Monfils.