West Henderson High’s Occupational Course of Study classroom kitchen got a major facelift yesterday, thanks to a generous donation of custom countertops from the Stone Gallery of WNC.
The donated countertops are a major upgrade to the kitchen that OCS students have been revamping with newer appliances they’ve purchased using money the class has earned through their School Factory.
An important element of any Exceptional Children’s OCS classroom, West’s School Factory consists of operating and inventorying an after-school snack cart for students and staff. Through the School Factory, students in the Occupational Course of Study class practice real-world skills – including money handling and management, inventory control and organization, and teamwork – and take ownership of their classroom.
“One of the purposes of the occupational course of study is to prepare students with disabilities to live and work independently,” explains teacher Autumne Lowe.
The students’ hard work and earnings have already replaced the kitchen stove, dishwasher, and refrigerator. Teachers Lowe and Tanya Shook Lowe said the microwave still needs replacing and the cabinets need updating, but the latter could be a project for the students to design and complete.
The kitchen at West supports OCS classroom activities such as cooking lessons using student-grown vegetables, healthy eating lessons, preparing an annual Thanksgiving meal for students and families, preparing an annual Senior Brunch, and prepping foods for the annual Fall Festival the OCS students host for Exceptional Children students in Mills River Elementary’s intensive intervention classrooms. The kitchen also supports other school activities and needs.