FCCLA cooks up Italian dinner at the Mill


Shelby Foster

Club sponsor Cheryl Clower helped her Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) members prepare teacher dinner boxes for the Mama Mia fundraising event on Feb. 16. The annual event consisted of an Italian dinner held in Clowers’ room which was decorated to resemble an authentic restaurant. The doors opened at 5:30 p.m.

Daniella Vivas, Features co-Editor

For the tenth year in a row Family, Career and Community Leaders of America hosted the Mama Mia Italian dinner fundraiser at Starr’s Mill. Tradition prevailed and the cooking and dining took place in club sponsor Cheryl Clower’s room at 5:30 p.m on Feb. 16.  

About three weeks before the dinner took place Clower sent emails to the faculty and staff at the Mill letting them know the fundraiser was fast approaching. As for the people in the community, “it is spread through word of mouth,” Clower said.

This is a very profitable fundraiser because of all the generous donations given in support.

— FCCLA sponsor Cheryl Clower

Tickets, costing $5, went on sale round the same time teachers received their email about the event. The club members of FCCLA are responsible for selling the tickets in return for club service hours. This year the students sold over 200 tickets. “It’s important for all the club members to sell as many tickets as possible because in the end the money raised helps everyone,” FCCLA historian officer Milani Patel said.

The doors open at 5:30 p.m for the general public but the case is different for teachers. Teachers are able to pick up their food in “teacher boxes after school, which acts as the early Mama Mia dinner shift,” Clower said.

The students prepare boxes of meals for the teachers to easily be able to grab and go. They prepared around 80 teacher boxes this year.

“The prepared boxes are the perfect way for the teachers to not only get a delicious hot meal but also help out their students in [purchasing tickets]. It’s a win-win,” former honor roll chairperson of FCCLA Diellza Hoti said.

The food for this event, like the pasta and dessert, is donated by the students and Pascal’s Bistro supplies all of the sauces. As for the remaining materials needed, they are bought with the ticket money. “This is a very profitable fundraiser because of all the generous donations given in support,” Clower said.

There is more to this dinner than just the food. Lead adviser Hope Via’s early childhood education classes are in charge of creating themed baskets for the silent auction. The contents of what go in these baskets are also donations from the parents of the children in the child care program. This year’s highest bidding basket was the “Restaurant Hopper,” a $150 filled basket with gift cards for different restaurants.  

The club raised over $1200 to support the FCCLA members in the state competition where they will compete in different culinary-based challenges. The rest of the money helps cover the cost of department needs that the Fayette County Board of Education doesn’t cover.

The success of this fundraiser has brought in a large amount of money in the past, not only for FCCLA but the department as a whole. For that reason Mama Mia has been a reoccurring event but changes might be made for next year. “To be honest, I am retiring so I don’t know if Via will continue this event after I’m gone,” Clower said. Although Clower will be leaving, she hopes that “the person after [her] will have a culinary background and enjoy doing events like these” just as much as she has.