Special delivery! Davis Career Center students bring handmade cookies and cheer to Superintendent Reid

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid got a taste of the “Davis magic” on Wednesday when young adults with disabilities hand-delivered cookies they had made from scratch to his office. Students at FCPS’ Davis Career Center are enrolled in the Culinary Arts program which teaches students skills such as baking, cooking, catering, and catering. The apple and flower shaped cookies, adorned with colorful icing, were a sweet surprise for the new superintendent.

“These look amazing! Wow! My cookies have never looked so good!” Dr. Reid said happily as culinary student Isvar Komakula handed him the bouquet of cookies.

The students, dressed in their white chef coats, said they wanted to deliver the cookies to welcome Dr. Reid to a new school year at FCPS. They explained how they made the cookies using a cookie cutter to create the flower and apple shapes, then used piping bags to decorate with royal icing. Culinary teacher Lauren Forshay said the process is hard work, but students light up when they see what they’ve accomplished.

“Being able to see a product from start to finish is very educational and very rewarding for these students,” Forshay said.

“My favorite part of this class is probably the cookie frosting,” said culinary student Susan He. “I have to slow down. I struggled a bit with the outline, but I’m getting better!

Student Susan He works on glazed cookies at the Davis Career Center.
Student Susan Il works on glazed cookies with teacher Lauren Forshay at the Davis Career Center.

The Davis Career Center serves students between the ages of 18 and 22 who have a range of special needs, including intellectual disabilities, autism, visual impairments, and those who are deaf or hard of hearing. In addition to culinary skills, students learn basic career-building skills such as showing up on time, being flexible, and working in groups.

“I call it the ‘Davis Magic’ because there’s a fulfillment that happens when they come to our center,” said manager Chad Clayton. “You see them gain a ton of independence and confidence throughout the year.”

Students smile with Dr. Reid.
Kendall Head, Juan Ramirez Ramirez, Isvar Komakula, Dr. Reid, Susan He and cooking teacher Lauren Forshay.

“I like working in a team,” said culinary student Kendall Head. “We all have to be on the same wavelength. I love working with my friends.

Over the next few months, Davis Culinary Students will prepare food and provide catering services for local businesses, school sporting events and holiday gatherings.

“The joy these students bring to their work is incredible,” said Dr. Reid. “I love hearing about their teamwork and team building skills. They are so proud of their work. We can all learn something by slowing down and enjoying what goes into those baked goods that bring joy to others.

To learn more about booking catering services through Davis Career Center, please visit their website.

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