Sixth Graders Dish out Leadership, Teamwork, and Delicious Dinners

They say good things come in threes, and this year's trio of grade 6 Leadership Program dinners was no exception!

They say good things come in threes, and this year's trio of grade 6 Leadership Program dinners was no exception! Students prepared and served three, three-course meals to their parents as the culmination of their learning over the last several months.

For the second year running, sixth graders worked with Ron Posner, Head of Middle School, and a team of experts in the food industry who guided them through the process of creating a pop-up restaurant in the Quad: alum Jacob Hadjigeorgis '02, owner of Jacob's Pickles and Maison Pickle restaurants and founder of Jacob's Pickles Digs NY, a non-profit organization supporting urban farming in New York City; and Chef Harold Villarosa, founder of The Insurgo Project, which nurtures farm-to-table and sustainability practices.

Throughout the year, sixth graders learned about these practices and were schooled in professional hospitality and restaurant procedures, ranging from food handling to customer service. They also learned about the different leadership and team roles that people in the restaurant business world assume.

Why cook a meal in a pop-up restaurant?

Precisely because Dwight doesn't have a kitchen! Putting students in the challenging situation of having to develop solutions to problems, such as how to cook without an oven or stove, and work together to map out every detail builds grit, determination, and resilience. They decided to grill outside on the deck!

This year was no less challenging than the first — each student found him or herself in a completely unfamiliar situation — and all exceeded expectations as they embodied the IB "approaches to learning" (ATL) skills: thinking, research, communication, collaboration, and self-management. Most of all, the students demonstrated significant growth as leaders and team players — whether in the back of house, front of house, marketing, or entertainment.

Each of three sections of the class transformed the Quad into a fine dining establishment, serving up mocktails, a themed dinner, live music, and speeches to reflect on all that they learned and accomplished throughout the process.

In addition to wowing parents and faculty, six-graders also received the stamp of approval from some special dinner guests in grade, who stood in their very same shoes last year and were happy to see this class succeed in creating dining experiences truly their own.

Congratulations to the entire class of 2023 on your tasty achievements!

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