What’s Happening at the Jefferson School City Center?

Chef Eric Breckoff teaches Principles of Culinary Arts at PVCC at the Jefferson School City Center. Chef Eric Breckoff teaches Principles of Culinary Arts at PVCC at the Jefferson School City Center.

Culinary Arts Students Develop Craft, Open up Career Paths at the Jefferson School City Center

Can you name twelve ways to cook an egg? The students in Chef Eric Breckoff’s Principles of Culinary Arts I class can. “They’re off to a good start,” said Breckoff, explaining that the students are deep into the fundamentals after finishing their fourth week of classes at the Jefferson School City Center. “They’ll work on knife cuts, egg cookery, and basic cooking methods for the first eight weeks,” he said, before moving on to stock, soup, and sauce prep for the second half of the semester.

The class is fundamental to PVCC’s culinary arts associate degree, which launched this semester at the Jefferson School City Center. “We have double the number of students that we originally envisioned,” said Dr. Henry (Chuck) Bohleke, Dean of Business, Mathematics, and Technology Division. About forty students are currently enrolled in the program, which provides students with a foundation in safety and sanitation, nutrition, and opportunities to intern at local restaurants and businesses.

“[The program] opens a lot of doors,” Bohleke continued, explaining that students finishing the degree will be prepared for jobs not only as chefs or sous chefs, but also in catering, and food service management. “These are jobs that can’t be outsourced. These are jobs that are going to be here,” he added.

Student Thomas Brandt, of Charlottesville, said he signed up for the program because he wanted to learn how to “make something out of nothing, to make really good meals,” and is enjoying his studies so far.

Breckoff has taught culinary arts for over twelve years and explained that he’s structured his courses to provide students with the means to continuously improve their craft. Each class period begins with a quiz reviewing previous material, before moving through discussion, lecture, demonstration, production, assessment, feedback, and clean-up.

“It’s a serious program for students who want to work in food service,” Bohleke stressed. “It’s not just for people who want a few skills. It’s a lot of work. It’s a craft.”

Literacy Volunteers Harvest New Crop of Tutors

Two dozen people walked into a classroom in the African American Heritage Center at the Jefferson School City Center bright and early on Saturday, September 14, coffee and notebooks in hand. By the end of the day, two dozen excited new tutors walked out. Deanne Foerster, Literacy Volunteers Program Director, explained that the goal of the bi-monthly trainings is to “inform tutors about our program, resources available to them, and good practices in tutoring.”

Over lunch, many of the tutors shared their stories about what drew them to volunteer their time. Many of them are new to the area and wanted a way to connect with the community; others had known about Literacy Volunteers for a long time and were finally ready to make the commitment.

New tutor Cassandra Barnett was impressed with the thoroughness of the training. “I could tell that some of the points and guidelines came from years of experience,” she said, adding that she also enjoyed hearing from current tutors on their methods for lesson planning. “Each one had a different spin and I greedily copied down their excellent tips, warnings, and advice,” she said.

Foerster will spend the next few weeks matching tutors with students on the waiting list. “We brought in a good group of tutors very interested in helping our students.  We look forward to them being part of our program and helping someone become more integrated into our community by improving their literacy and English skills,” Foerster said. The next tutor training is scheduled for Saturday, November 9, 2013. Call 434-977-3838 for more information.

NAACP Honors JABA Member Annie Merritt at Annual BanquetAnnie Merritt2

Ask JABA Member Annie Merritt about her work with the local chapter of the NAACP and her face lights up as she recalls her decades of service to the NAACP’s membership committee. On Friday, September 13, 2013, Mrs. Merritt enjoyed recognition for her years of service at the annual Freedom Fund banquet. Her family accompanied her to the event.

Kelly Carpenter, Mary Williams Community Room Manager, said that Mrs. Merritt has another milestone ahead of her–in November she’ll celebrate her 99th birthday. A retired RN who worked for the Health Department for many years, Merritt still lives independently and visits the Mary Williams Community Center a couple times a week, participating in Tai Chi and meditation classes. “She works hard on our community service projects, such as making Foster Bags, and enjoys interacting with the children of the YMCA preschool during our Intergenerational activities,” said Carpenter.

JSCC logoJefferson School City Center is a voice of the nine nonprofits located at Charlottesville’s intergenerational community center, the restored Jefferson School. We are a legacy preserved . . . a soul reborn . . . in the heart of Cville!