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Crowd Turns Out to Support Foundation at West Hartford’s Cookin’

From left: Duffy Principal Kristi Laverty, Smith STEM Principal Teresa Giolito, and Webster Hill Principal Jeff Wallowitz. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools’ popular annual fundraiser, West Hartford’s Cookin’, was a great success on Saturday night.

Superintendent Tom Moore, Director of Diversity Enhancement Roszena Haskins, and Assistant Superintendent Andy Morrow. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton, Photos by Hunter Marotto and Ronni Newton

The Foundation for West Hartford Pubic Schools, now in its 21st year, held its annual West Hartford’s Cookin’ on Saturday night in the Town Hall auditorium, and by all accounts the evening was a rousing success.

Celebrity chefs representing West Hartford’s public schools, as well as town administrators, elected officials, and other special guests dished out samples of their favorites dishes Saturday night to a what appeared to be a record crowd of well over 300 people at the Foundation’s signature fundraising event.

Savory offerings included variety of meatballs – including the “Chieftain meatballs” prepared by Conard Principal Julio Duarte, several varieties of chili – including a delicious version created by Hall’s culinary arts classes under the direction of teacher Jessica Brand, wings, sliders, salads, pastas, Town Council member Leon Davidoff’s signature potatoes latkes, and more.

Desserts and other sweet treats were crowd favorites as well. Town Manager Matt Hart (with the assistance of his daughter and her friend) offered up pound cake with berry topping, while State Rep. Derek Slap and his daughter made chocolate chip cookies adorned with a red “C” for Conard and a blue “H” for Hall.

Morley Principal Ryan Cleary baked homemade Samoa cookies, and Mayor Shari Cantor, who is recovering from knee surgery, was unable to attend but sent some gourmet cookies that were arranged on a table under her photo.

The theme of this year’s West Hartford Cookin’ was “Growing Connections,” highlighting a grant that the Foundation provided to purchase a share in a greenhouse at Auerfarm which is being used by the post-secondary students as part of their culinary arts program. Students from the post-secondary program participated in Saturday’s event as well – and their delicious chocolate-covered strawberries were snatched up quickly.

“Many don’t realize that the Foundation supports pre-K-12 as well as the post-secondary program,” Foundation Co-President Carol Lorenzo said. Overall, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.6 million in grants since its inception in 1997.

According to Lorenzo, although final numbers were still being tabulated, more than $50,000 was raised Saturday night through sponsorships, the live and silent auctions, and paddle raise.

Anyone who was unable to attend or would otherwise like to consider making a donation to the Foundation can do so through the organization’s website.

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Event organizer Deena Samberg-Shefsky and Foundation Co-President Carol Lorenzo. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

John Lyons was auctioneer. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

Deb and Ian Polun. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

David Dippolino. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Conard Principal Julio Duarte with his “Chieftain meatballs.” West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Liam Sweeney points to the photo of Mayor Shari Cantor who sent cookies but was unable to attend because she is recovering from knee surgery. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Post-secondary instructor Cameron Pilger (left) with two students. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

From left: Joy Wright, Steve Cooke, Suzie Sinatro. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Town Clerk Essie Labrot and teacher Becky Pauluk. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

From left: Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chris Conway, Bob Macca, Marcia Macca, and Colleen Conway. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

State Sen. Derek Slap and his daughter, Zoe, with their Conard and Hall cookies. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hall Vice Principal Shelley Solomon and Deputy Mayor Beth Kerrigan. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Town Manager Matt Hart with his daughter Claire (center) and her friend Piper MacKinnon. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Morley Principal Ryan Cleary, Wolcott Principal Scott Dunn, Director of Elementary Education Kerry Jones. West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford’s Cookin’. March 30, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

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