Students serve up burgers to Folsom school district leaders

By: Laura Newell, Telegraph staff writer
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The Dragon Paradise Café was buzzing with excitement at a recent Oak Chan Elementary School fundraiser. The hamburger and chips lunch was a fundraiser held, hosted and served up by 10 special education students, ages 7 to 10 at the elementary school. ?The energy around the school during Dragon Paradise Café week is outstanding,? said Oak Chan Elementary principal Linda Libbert. ?Everyone is excited and having fun.? The fundraiser was part of a three-day event to help the students raise money for their end-of-the-year four-day field trip to Point Reyes. Susan Woodman, 23 year special education teacher at Oak Chan Elementary, said this is the 12th year students held the fundraiser for the yearly overnight field trip. To prepare the students for this life-lesson in a work environment, she first interviewed each student for their position. After the interview process in January, the students prepared the theme and lunch for the fundraiser. This year?s theme was the Olympics. They prepared Olympic themed decorations from wall art to napkin holders. Students invited parents, teachers and district staff to attend the fundraiser. Nick Lange attended the fundraiser to support his second grade daughter Lillia Dean, 8. ?This is a day for us to come and show support for our daughter,? Lange said. ?It?s a day to help them learn life skills and be responsible. It teaches them what to expect as an adult when they have a job.? Lillia, the chef, said she was exited to help cook the cheeseburgers. ?I love cooking,? she said. ?My favorite thing to cook is Macaroni and Cheese.? Fourth grader Jim Hu, 10, was a waiter for the day. ?I love to serve people food and make them smile,? Hu said. Second grader Timmy Lonczak, 9, was the drink tender and served up iced tea, lemonade and water. Fifth grader Devin Schutte, 11, was a waiter and busboy at the fundraiser. ?I?ve been doing this fundraiser since first grade,? Schutte said. ?My favorite part is talking to all the people. I want to get my own TV cooking show when I grow up.? Another attendee was District Superintendent Deborah Bettencourt. ?This is an event I never miss,? Bettencourt said. ?It shows the academic independence for our schools and students.? Woodman said these kind of hands-on lessons make her happy to be a teacher. ?Teaching special education is a nice experience because I get to work with these kids for multiple years,? Woodman said. ?It?s amazing to see them grow and become people in our community.?