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ESL student teaching SWAHS student cooking
  • 2022-23
Inam Mahfuz

South Washington Alternative High School students had the unique opportunity to learn to cook food from different cultures. 

SWAHS Cooking Story

South Washington Alternative High School (SWAHS) students recently got the opportunity to learn how to cook traditional food from English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

The first-time collaboration between ESL and SWAHS students provided a valuable and enjoyable learning experience for students from different backgrounds.

“This allows us to learn about other cultures and meet new people,” said Ajulo, a senior at SWAHS.

Students had the opportunity to interact with and learn from Felicite, an ESL student who was born in Togo and grew up in Nigeria. 

SWAHS Cooking

“I am excited to share how to make jollof rice with others,” said Felicite, who has lived in the United States for six years. “I learned this dish from my mother.”  

Students also learned how to cook arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) from a Venezuelan couple, both of whom are ESL students.

Demonstrating cooking techniques to SWAHS students, Elio Marmol reminisced about his experience as a chef when he worked for the National Soccer team in Venezuela. 

“This dish is a popular, traditional dish,” said Elio.

His wife Mariana, who worked as a Nutritionist in Venezuela, said opportunities like this help her practice speaking English with native speakers.

SWAHS Cooking story

“I study English daily and look after my lovely 6-week-old granddaughter, " said Mariana. 

“I think it is really cool to have guests teach us firsthand how to cook traditional food,” said Gregory, a junior at SWAHS. “It’s interesting to use different seasonings, which we normally do not use in cooking.” 

“This experience was a great opportunity for my students to learn something new,” said Anne Piasecki, a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher. “ It was also fantastic for the ESL students to be confident in showing us what they love to do.”

  • SoWashCo Schools
  • South Washington Alternative High School