These kids are awesome. Amazing. Incredible. Insert any positive adjective you want here, and it would fit their profile. There is so much more to education than multiple choice, fill-in-the-correct bubble, standardized, run-of-the-mill, bullshit testing, and these kids killed it every week even if it didn’t show up in a test score and labeled them Far Below Basic, Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, Advanced. They are so much better than any test score or grade will show. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) will never do them justice. The life experiences that have provided them wisdom, humor, intelligence, cunning, immaturity, boldness, joy, sensitivity, will never show up on the bottom line for schools. They will not help a school’s API or AYP. They will never bring in more dollars or recognition. They will never save a teacher’s job or a school’s reputation. But they are the lifeblood of life, those traits are the tools students can pull out and use to help themselves and help others and build something bigger than what a piece of paper might tell them or somebody else who knows nothing of their real talents. I love these kids, and I miss them dearly.
It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. It’s been nearly a month since I’ve last written, and I’ve struggled getting my words down. Barrio Bites has recently relocated to the East Coast, Boston, MA. I hope to continue to work with students out here and provide them with experiential hands-on learning, practical hard/soft skills, servant leadership, and a sense of community that I started in Barrio Logan with the students pictured above. But it will never be with the same kids who first jumped on board to take the ride. And even when we weren’t sure where we were going, the students pictured above (and more) were more than willing to take the journey. They are the beating heart of Barrio Bites. So if you see them – praise them, support them, push them because they are so very, very awesome, more awesome than even sometimes they know themselves and they need our support in any/every way possible. They taught me more than I ever taught them, and I feel blessed to know them.
The pictures below show the kids in action on the last day of cooking, February 7. They made a chipotle infused quinoa, adobo rubbed chicken, roasted tomatillo-avocado salsa. They worked as a team – they cooperated, shared, laughed, messed around, cleaned, and supported one another through it all. And the food? Again, crushed it!