Photo courtesy of Edgemont Art Teacher, Mycalynn Cortney
Edgemont High School students complete Christmas inspired canvas art as part of their Mini-Courses.
By Garland Wright
EDGEMONT – Edgemont school doesn’t skip Christmas or any of the fun activities that have become holiday traditions that come with it. As part of the annual celebration, Edgemont students participate in a day of Mini-Courses and volunteering. This year didn’t disappoint as students had their day of Christmas adventures on Monday, Dec. 19. The school day started with a breakfast potluck hosted by the high school students. Students and staff enjoyed cinnamon rolls, egg bakes, biscuits, and gravy.
Students then participated in a series of Mini-courses of their choice. Edgemont teachers, both past and present, host different Mini-Courses spanning various topics. Some notable Mini-Courses included swing dancing, Escape room/break-out box Christmas challenges, cooking, paper crafts, introduction to the guitar, roping, and scrapbooking. Some Mini-Courses are so popular that they return each year.
Two former Edgemont teachers brought back some of Edgemont’s most in-demand Mini-Courses. Scott Corbett, a former Edgemont High School science teacher, brought glass bending to the Edgemont students. Students get to use some of the lab equipment to manipulate pieces of glass to create unique three-dimensional designs.
Former Edgemont Middle School teacher, Kathi Nelson, brought back Ebelskiver cooking demonstrations. Ebelskiver requires a special stovetop pan with several (usually seven) half-spherical molds. When cooking Ebelskiver, the preparer must cook the pancake-like batter and spiced apple filling until one-half of the sphere is formed and then is ready to be flipped over with a skewer. Once flipped, the Ebelskiver is cooked to complete the spherical shape that gives the dish its signature look. Though Ebelskiver are filled with a variety of sweet or savory fillings, the Edgemont students cook the most traditional version of the dish filled with spiced apples. When asked about the origins of Kathi Nelson’s Danish family recipe, she stated that it originated from her husband’s side of the family but that she learned to cook it when gifted an Ebelskiver pan from her mother-in-law.
Ebelskiver is one of many international dishes to make it to Edgemont school. Students also got to enjoy a Lefse making Mini-Course under the tutelage of Suzanne Hollenbeck. Norwegian in origin, Lefse can be described as a large flattened potato pancake smothered in sugar and butter. This carbohydrate-rich dish doesn’t disappoint the tastebuds, and it is no surprise that this is a popular Christmas dish in Norway and now across America in the homes of Norwegian descendants. Hollenbeck is one of those descendants and has made Lefse with her family and the school for many years. She even brought in her special round cooking griddle and specialized rolling pin to make the dish with students.
Students not only made Christmas dishes from Europe but also from South America as well. The Spanish 2 students finished the day by making Pan de Jamon, Sopapilla bars, and Picadillo. Pan de Jamon is a Venezuelan Christmas bread stuffed with swiss cheese, ham, raisins, and green olives. Spanish students make Pan de Jamon each year, and it is one of those polarising dishes that people either love or hate, likely due to its’ seemingly odd combination of flavors. Students also made Sopapilla bars, a Tex-Mex-inspired dish, and this dish is always a hit with the kids with its cheesecake-like filling and cinnamon sugar topping. Students also made another Christmas dish called Mexican Picadillo. This dish is made from ground beef, and potatoes simmered in tomato sauce and served over rice. In true Christmas fashion, staff and students alike ate a plentitude of food on the day of Mini-courses.
Mini-courses, while seemingly just a fun day for kids, actually serve a greater purpose than just enjoyment. Students are exposed to different cultures and skills through Mini-courses, which prepare them to be more adventurous when sent off into the “real world.”
When questioned as to why Superintendent Amy Ferley brings Mini-courses back each year, she stated that it is an opportunity to “expand learning and show that learning new things for the sake of learning is fun. It’s also good for our learners to see our teachers’ passions and interests from outside the classroom.”
Mini-courses were not the only source of fun on Dec. 19. Students also got to watch the Edgemont girls’ basketball team play. Before the game, students designed sweaters and shirts with various Christmas garlands and tinsel. Students wore their ugly sweaters as a show of unity in support of their girls’ basketball team, and then the Edgemont girls’ basketball team took the win, which only added to the day’s joy.
The day ended with students completing various community service projects, including caroling around Edgemont and cleaning up different parts of the school. Each year there may be a slightly different array of Mini-courses, which helps to provide some variety in the students’ annual Christmas celebration.