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Homepage of the
Locustwood / Gotham Civic Association
Elmont, Long Island, New York 11003

Next Meeting:

December 18
7:30 PM



Chef Charlie Walsh dishes out black bean soup, along with a history lesson and some helpful cooking advice, to Elmont students participating in the Saturday World Language Academy program held at Gotham Avenue Elementary School.

Dario Alexandre, teaching assistant; Dr. Valerie Reese, assistant principal Covert Avenue School; Rosemary Haigh, French Teacher; Joann Esrick, French Teacher; Pamela Byer, Elmont School Board president; Chef Charlie Walsh; Al Harper, Elmont Elementary School superintendent; Elsy Mecklembourg-Guibert, Elmont School Board vice president; and Aubrey Phillips, Elmont School Board trustee were all on hand for the culinary lesson.



Elmont Students Get a Taste of Spain

Elmont School District

Administration Offices • 135 Elmont Road • Elmont, NY 11003-1609 • 516-326-5500


 Chef Charlie Walsh of the New York Institute of Technology’s Culinary Art Center recently transformed classrooms at Elmont’s Gotham Avenue Elementary School into a “cocina” — the Spanish word for kitchen — when he prepared an authentic Spanish-flavored feast for students participating in the district’s Saturday World Language Academy. One of Elmont’s enrichment programs, the World Language Academy offers students the opportunity to learn Spanish, French or Italian during the weekend. In addition to teaching youngsters a foreign language, the program also exposes participants to the rich and diverse cultures of other countries by immersing them in the music, literature and cuisine of the different nations — and that’s where Chef Charlie steps in. Donning a crisp white apron, he whipped up a three-course meal of traditional Spanish favorites. On the menu this time was black bean soup, chicken paella (a dish consisting of stir-fried vegetables, meat and rice) and churros (a fried dough pastry) for dessert.

Besides demonstrating his skills in the kitchen, Chef Charlie explained the history of the various dishes, distributed copies of recipes and shared some helpful hints for maintaining safety during food preparation and storage. Saturday Academy Principal Dennis Cowan lauds the program stating that “through this academy children are exposed in a positive, enjoyable way to new languages at an early age. Such an introduction translates into a firm foundation in a second language when the students begin their secondary education.” A passing grade on a foreign language exam is a requirement for students to be awarded the Advanced Regents diploma.

The Saturday World Language Academy begins in October and culminates with the celebration of National Foreign Language Week — a national celebration of linguistic diversity held yearly in the beginning of March. The mission of the Elmont Union Free School District is to “reach and teach for excellence,” which means continually improving instruction and increasing student achievement.

Dedication to this goal is what has earned Elmont New York state recognition for its “High Performing/Gap Closing Schools,” and as a state “model for school success.” In partnership with the community, the district holds its students to the highest standards while maintaining one of the lowest per-pupil expenditures in Nassau County.

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