The savory smells of bacon, quiche and breakfast potatoes wafted through the halls of Toll Gate High School on Friday morning. The mouthwatering aromas were coming from the classroom of Christina Metelski, the teacher of Growth Opportunities, a special education program geared toward teaching life skills to teens and young adults with special needs.
The nine students, with help from five other peers, whipped up a full breakfast for their families, who were invited to dig in early Friday morning.
“This program balances academics and social skills,” said Dr. Kim Carson, assistant director of special services, who praised Metelski for her work.
Metelski said the preparation for the May breakfast took all week. Not only did the students plan the menu, they went shopping and prepared all of the food. Metelski said things like cooking, doing laundry and cleaning are all part of the curriculum of the program. Her students learn academics, but also participate in volunteer work programs to get real life experience.
“Most of these kids will be with me until they’re 21,” said Metelski. “We want to teach them functional life skills.”
The program at Toll Gate, one of two in Warwick, is three years old. Friday’s event was the second May breakfast they’ve held, but this was the first year parents were invited to take part. After everyone was seated at a long table, students introduced themselves and presented the dishes they’d made. Soon everyone was munching on fresh strawberries, pancakes and muffins, washing it all down with orange juice and coffee.