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It wasn't your usual school lunch for eighth graders at Mountain View Middle School on Thursday. The students feasted on parrot wings, golden carrot doubloons, pirate ship potatoes, tropical key lime pie, hardtack and apple cider grog - the kind of meal that possibly pirates of days gone by may have enjoyed.
The students said they particularly enjoyed making the hardtack - a hard, thick flat cracker, described as "an edible rock" often eaten by sailors out at sea. The crackers are supposed to keep indefinitely and not become spoiled or infested by weevils or grubs.
The 'pirate feast,' prepared and served by the students in the food classroom, was one of the many activities held throughout that week as part of the Follett Challenge and celebrating the classic tale "Treasure Island." Follett, the company that provides the school's textbooks and circulation system for the library, helps prepare the students for the 21st Century by offering the challenge and encouraging them to read classics and participate in activities that encourage critical thinking and group participation.
English teacher Kendra Cox, director of the school's English as a Second Language (ESL) program, coordinated the challenge by having the kids read "Treasure Island" and participating in nautical and pirate-themed activities. Besides studying pirates and the foods they ate, the students studied islands and had a treasure hunt throughout the school. The band created some nautical music and the school's shop class even made some small boats used for a race, while the school's drama department created a documentary on the project.
Cox said she was pleased that nearly every department in the school got involved in the challenge, adding, "We also had an 'island-themed' door decorating contest. The kids have had so much fun with this and they have learned so much."
Follett offers a challenge to schools each year with some of the schools receiving award money for their participation.