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This last fall, the Rochester Public Schools Community Education Program's Smart Cooking with Ms. Rey has blown the roof off the place. Well, virtually, anyway. Over 80 middle-school students logged on and learned to cook...as an after school activity.

"Smart Cooking is an after school activity teaching students about nutrition, independent choices, learning to cook, and preparing meals for their families. Students get hands-on experience by chopping, mixing, and baking ingredients in their own kitchens led by a virtual instructor."

When students are in the school, the students have a room full of stoves, refrigerators, mixers...the whole nine yards. How's it look when you do the class virtually? "A little different" according to Matt Gove, RPS Community Education Youth Enrichment Coordinator.

"A week before class, Ms. Rey, will post ingredients for a meal. During this time, students can reach out to Ms. Rey if they have any questions regarding the ingredients, make adjustments if needed, or address if they need assistance in getting any of the items."

Then, after school, it's log on, have a lesson related to wellness, health, and nutrition, and get cooking. Rehan Saber is the teacher and she just wanted to teach kids to cook and be wise about nutrition and now it's one of the most popular classes offered.

"It's really quite amazing, and we have received several heartfelt messages of thanks from parents in this course," said Matt Gove. The next session is already full, but summer options may pop up.

Many kudos to Rehan Saber for her skill and natural way with middle school students. Another reason Rochester is a great place to live, work, and raise kids.

As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: james.rabe@townsquaremedia.com

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Middle school students learning to cook is an example of why I love Minnesota. People with a skill reach out and get involved.

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