Story by Paul Finkelstein

The “Screaming Avocado” students from Stratford Northwestern Secondary School in Ontario, Canada have been making headlines lately:

“Six students from two Avon Maitland Schools have been selected to be part of a very special group of young Canadians. They will be heading to Ottawa next week for the historic Royal Visit by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Canada at Rideau Hall. On Thursday, June 30, 2011 four students from Stratford Northwestern Secondary School and two from Mitchell District High School will be among just 22 young culinary professionals and students from across the country. This special group of students will be mentored by Rideau Hall chefs and will assist the Governor General's culinary team with preparations and service for an evening celebration with their Royal Highnesses. The visit by the newlywed Prince William and Kate Middleton to Canada is their first official tour abroad.

The students are part of the Culinary Arts Programs at their respective schools. Four grade 10 students from Stratford Northwestern will be part of Canadian History. 16 year olds Samuel Blair, Kyle Nicklas, and Amanda Pearson will be joined by 15 year old Mikaila Boon. Sarah Brown and Mark Bertens both in grade 11 at Mitchell District High School, will join in the honour of working with the Rideau Hall Culinary team and serving throughout the evening to all the dignitaries including the Prince and Princess. Both Mitchell students are 17 years of age. Its all part of the Celebration of Youth Reception hosted by the Prime Minister celebrating the service of Canadian Youth towards a smart and caring nation. The event begins at 6:00 PM at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Thursday, June 30, 2011.”

The students also recently cooked for the Governor General and his wife:

“Stratford Northwestern's Screaming Avocado Cafe has been host to many dignitaries over the past few years, but none quite like their latest guest. Canada's Governor General, David Johnston and his wife not only came for lunch with students of the Culinary Arts Program, he donned an apron for some basic lessons in food preparation.The visit took place on Monday, May 30, 2011 and bringing the “GG” to the Screaming Avocado provided yet another feather in the cap of Program Leader Paul Finkelstein. Paul says, “This is another great opportunity for our students and highlights not only our program but provides our young with an experience of a lifetime.” Grade 10 student Elijah Detering who was part of the teaching team for His Excellency, Canada's representative to the Queen, says it was a real honour for him to have this opportunity.”

The latest news is from the Avon Maitland District School Board website.

About the author: Paul Finkelstein runs the Screaming Avocado programme.