Fifth-grader Jaimy Moreno is learning door-to-door sales. With her teacher at Everett’s Madison Elementary School, Jaimy and her classmates have been out selling cookbooks.
“Camp, College, and Beyond” is a collection of recipes shared by school families, staff and people in the community. Madison Principal Kimberly Gilmore’s sour cream enchiladas are included in the cookbook, as is custodian “Mr. Bill’s” skillet macaroni dinner.
The goal is to raise at least $10,000 to send Madison fifth-graders to Camp Orkila on Orcas Island in May for outdoor environmental education. Helped by fundraising, Madison students went last spring to the camp operated by the YMCA of Greater Seattle. It was the first time in nearly a decade that the school had sent kids to camp.
With cookbook sales and other donations, this year’s fifth-graders are excited to start packing bags. Their excursion is scheduled for May 24-26.
Gilmore expects about 80 students — three classes of fifth-graders plus those in a special-education extended resource room — along with 10 school staff members and some parents to make the trip.
Most of the students have never been on a ferry, said Teresa O’Shea, the fifth-grade teacher leading the cookbook effort. “We took them on a field trip to Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and many had never seen the Space Needle,” she said.
On Thursdays after school, O’Shea has taken students out to sell cookbooks in the Madison neighborhood. Kids have learned to politely explain what they’re selling and why. They watch for “Beware of Dog” signs and know what “No Soliciting” means.
For some area schools, costs for overnight camp are covered by strong PTA groups. Financial support by parents helped with camp costs for Silver Firs Elementary students when Gilmore was principal at that southeast Everett school.
Madison is a Title I school, a federal designation that means many students are from low-income households. In 2016, according to the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 74.8 percent of Madison students qualified for free or reduced-price meals, and 37 percent were bilingual. In her class of 21 students, O’Shea said six are in shelters or other transitional housing situations.
Ten-year-old Jaimy said Wednesday that she and classmate Martina Tuwun, also 10, are tied as top cookbook sellers, with 22 each. Jaimy has sold at the Lynnwood restaurant where her dad works.
O’Shea worked to create the cookbook with Cheryl Hendrickson, a paraeducator who teaches reading at Madison. It cost about $3,000 to have the books printed by Morris Press Cookbooks, O’Shea said. Any sales now will add to the camp fund. With transportation and camp costs, the trip costs about $150 per person.
Gilmore said Madison has worked with Christy Shiers, director of environmental science programs at Camp Orkila. “The camp gives you a menu of classes, biology to leadership skills and scientific method,” the principal said.
Students are expected to try a ropes course, learn about sea life during a beach walk, and examine water samples using new microscopes, Gilmore said. Such adventures are routine for many of us, but Gilmore said seeing starfish or a crab in nature will be a first for lots of kids.
On the ferry to Orcas last year, the principal said, kids from Madison and Everett’s Penny Creek Elementary School took turns shouting out “Camp Orkila.”
“One boy said, ‘This is the best experience of my life.’ And we weren’t even at camp yet,” Gilmore said.
For years, Everett students went to Camp Silverton on the Mountain Loop Highway for outdoor education. That former camp, once an Everett School District facility, is on U.S. Forest Service land near Verlot. Some local schools no longer take students to overnight camp, opting instead for day trips to the Lively Environmental Center in Mill Creek, the Pacific Science Center or other sites.
O’Shea, a National Board Certified science teacher, wants her fifth-graders to have as much science as possible, including an outdoor camp experience. For next year, she hopes to write a grant to cover costs. By then, most of her current students will be at Evergreen Middle School.
All over her classroom, there are signs of the hope O’Shea has for her students. College banners — from the University of Washington and Stanford University to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — hang from the ceiling.
“At the first of the year we visited Everett Community College,” O’Shea said. “These kids deserve a quality education.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein @heraldnet.com.
Everett’s Madison Elementary School has published a cookbook, “Camp, College, and Beyond,” to raise money to send fifth-grade students to environmental education at Camp Orkila on Orcas Island. Donations may be made at: www.everettsd.org/Domain/26
Cookbooks are available, for $15, at the Madison office during school hours, 8:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m. weekdays. The school is at 616 Pecks Drive, Everett.