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Gananoque Intermediate and Secondary School Students Launch Wicked Whisk, a Culinary and Sustainable Food Enterprise
Gananoque Intermediate and Secondary School Students Launch Wicked Whisk, a Culinary and Sustainable Food Enterprise
Posted on 06/19/2023

June 19, 2023 (Gananoque, ON) – Gananoque Intermediate and Secondary School (GISS) has created its own company through a unique Real-World Learning initiative called Wicked Whisk. This new initiative empowers Grade 9 to 12 students to explore the world of entrepreneurship, culinary, and sustainable food practices.

Since the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, students from various Hospitality and Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) courses, Media Arts, Business Finance, Agricultural SHSM, Grade 9 de-streamed Math, and Construction Tech Classes have been actively included in this cross-curricular project.

The students' first step was harvesting vegetables in the fall of 2022 to kickstart the farm-to-table business within the school community. Working with the hospitality class, students harvested beets at Mullin’s Farm, a local community farm that the school has partnered with this year. Students pickled the beets and branded the jars, creating a business name for their venture: Wicked Whisk. As the initiative progressed, the students expanded their product offerings to include other seasonal vegetables like tomatoes, which allowed them to provide products such as canned tomatoes, salsa, chilli sauce, and more. 

“This project began as we were looking for a way to integrate multiple classes into one unified project that everyone could take something away from. I was in Media Arts, and that was designing the logo and advertisements for the Hospitality classes. I've learned that I really enjoy the communication aspects of business and that I like being involved in a group project, as opposed to approaching something individually,” says Grade 12 student Janevra Pier.

Wicked Whisk aims to extend its impact beyond the school community and into the wider local community. Students have been creating "take and bake" options for community members, including retirement homes and local elementary schools. By doing so, they are providing hot lunches made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

In the media studies classes, students created marketing and branding materials including logos, videos, and advertisements.

“Chef Anderson originally had us come up with multiple designsa shirt design, a hat design, and a business card design. I started with the business card design because I had our ideas already and I sent [them] out to her and she loved it,” says Grade 10 student Krys Sullivan.“Through Com Tech, we have been learning about photography, lighting, different modes on the cameras, and especially digital design. One of the first things we did was create a digital design using Canva. I’ve had a lot of fun and learned so much about design and promotion.”

Grade 9 student Alastair Hudson agrees. "I was amazed at how much we dived into graphic design and how we got to do client relations and even advanced photography. I'm happy I took this course and enjoyed everything we've done so far. I've learned through this project that I actually enjoy graphic design a lot and I enjoy designing different logos and working with clients to make something cool.”

Business and finance students created a business plan and crunched numbers for products and determined profit margins. In the construction classes, one of the projects students worked on was 20 making charcuterie boards out of repurposed wood to be used at an event and then auctioned off. On the charcuterie boards, students laser etched the logo onto the wood. 

I've learned how to put together a charcuterie board and how to make the presentation look appealing and through this entire project, the business of calculating prices and the overall costs has made me better at math. I’ve really enjoyed this course,” says Grade 9 student William Chaperon, who has taken the construction, business, and hospitality classes.

"Students in the Exploring Technology class are learning some very practical skills on how to use tools and equipment. They create the object, they draw it out, they measure it, they figure out what materials it needs, they need a schedule for what they're doing,” says teacher Ashley Johnson.

In the hospitality classes, students have been learning everything from cooking, baking, recipe design, dining room service, butchering, and decorating.

Grade 12 student Arianna Bennett has been part of this project all school year and has learned a tremendous amount. “We're bringing in charcuterie boards made by construction students and using them for our events to place the products that we are making. We have also been creating canned goods like beets and carrots and also frozen bakers that people can take home and bake themselves. Also, figuring out the costs associated with the profits and all that business side of it. I’ve learned so many skills throughout this. I own my own business already, so this has been a chance for me to use the skills that I've learned there and help other people develop their own business skills. In the hospitality classes, I get to learn more cooking skills. It's a really great experience. It's an experience that's beyond you because it goes into the community.”

"Through the Wicked Whisk project, our students have embraced the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship, culinary arts, and sustainable food practices. By integrating various courses and real-world experiences, we have empowered our students to develop valuable skills and create a positive impact in both our school and local community. The Wicked Whisk represents the true essence of collaboration, creativity, and the pursuit of excellence. I am so proud of our students,” says GISS Principal Dave Pier.

Last month, Wicked Whisk hosted a fundraising gala for the Upper Canada District School Board’s Champions for Kids, which raised over $4,000. This fundraising gala was one of the many catering events that students hosted this year. Looking ahead to next school year, Wicked Whisk will continue with both new and returning students.

"The beauty of this project is that each of these elements is a real element that someone who's running their own business and entrepreneur would have to use themselves. The fact that we are able to bring all of these courses together and integrate them into one cohesive application is amazing. I think that's really valuable for all of us,” says Janevra Pier.

For media inquiries, please contact:   

Dave Pier  
Gananoque Intermediate and Secondary School  [email protected] 

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