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NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Senior Luncheon Brings Community Together Despite Wet Weather

Advanced culinary students, from left, Brayden Altieri, Jaren Hunt, and Quinn Leonard talk to senior citizens making sure to get them their meals April 4. The Senior Citizen Drive-Thru is prepared and operated by John Dominellos culinary students.
Ava Hustek ’25
Advanced culinary students, from left, Brayden Altieri, Jaren Hunt, and Quinn Leonard talk to senior citizens making sure to get them their meals April 4. The Senior Citizen Drive-Thru is prepared and operated by John Dominello’s culinary students.

WOODBURY — Rain, shine, or even April sleet, Nonnewaug never fails to host its annual spring senior luncheon. 

The culinary department at Nonnewaug buzzed around the kitchen preparing the meal for weeks. All of John Dominello’s culinary students worked hard to make the senior luncheon a success. The challenging weather conditions that brought rain and near-freezing temperatures did not deter Dominello and his classes from continuing the event April 4.

“I just love seeing people happy. Even though it’s cold, their joy makes it worth it,” said Brayden Altieri, a senior in Dominello’s advanced culinary course. “All the preparation is worth it when it comes to this event.”

Each year the classes work harder to try and grow. Since they started, they increased from 40 prepared meals to 150.

NHS culinary students collaborate with the NHS band to help make Thursday’s meal as memorable experience for community senior citizens. (Brianna Johnson ’25)

“We initially started this almost like a restaurant, but we would only be able to serve about 40 senior citizens,” said Dominello. “So [the year of COVID], instead of doing 40 meals, we were able to serve about 80 meals to the senior citizens, and each year it keeps getting larger. Even though we miss being in the classroom, we were able to serve almost four times the number of people doing the drive-through.”

Dominello’s humble students not only help the drive-through senior luncheon run smoothly, but they also prepared the meals themselves.

“We prepared a greenhouse marinated spring salad,” noted senior culinary student Quinn Leonard. “[We also included] baked three-cheese lasagna and a mixed fruit turnover with a vanilla glaze.”

The culinary students love being involved with this event, from cooking the meal to serving it to community seniors. Giving back to the community appears to benefit the young chefs as much as it benefits the local senior citizens.

“I think that this event is important to not only the community but also to the students,” said Dominello. “It gives them a new experience as if they were really working in a restaurant.  It teaches them responsibility because they have to be ready for anything. We have 150 people ready to pull up and they need to be prepared as if it were a restaurant or banquet hall.”

Most importantly, this event is appreciated greatly by the senior citizens who get to be a part of the event. Every individual that gets a meal has nothing but positive things to say.

“I love getting a nice meal,” said senior citizen Darlene McCrohan. “And it’s nice that you guys get the learning opportunity to cook it and get everything ready for this.”

Other senior citizens that have signed up for a prepared meal also have raving reviews on the luncheon.

“Three of our kids went through the vo-ag program here at Nonnewaug,” said a local senior citizen. “They are all graduates here, so we have been around here a lot. We really do love to do anything we can to support this school. And we really love the meals.”

About the Contributors
Ava Hustek ’25
Ava Hustek ’25, Reporter
Ava Hustek is a junior at Nonnewaug High School and is a reporter for the NHS Chief Advocate. She is from Middlebury and is in the ag program. She plans to major in veterinary science. In her free time, she likes to be with her friends and work with cows. As a first-year reporter, she is excited to write about sports and school events.
Grace Nelson '25
Grace Nelson '25, Reporter
Grace Nelson is a junior at Nonnewaug High School. She is a first-year reporter for the Nonnewaug Chief Advocate. She is from Woodbury and is a part of the agriscience program. Currently, she is interested in animal production within the ag program. When she is not busy writing for the Chief Advocate, she enjoys hanging out with friends and working. Being a first-year writer, she is interested in writing about sports and upcoming events happening at Nonnewaug.
Brianna Johnson '25
Brianna Johnson is a junior in her first year of being a reporter for the Nonnewaug Chief Advocate. She is an ag student who's interested in agricultural production. When she is not reporting on the latest news, she enjoys riding quads, working with cows, and socializing with her friends. She hopes to become a women's health nurse practitioner. Brianna is excited to be involved in sharing the details of the latest local news.
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