By Tanya Hammond- Review Mirror pg 6 February 23, 2023.
A Thousand Island Elementary School (TIES) teacher used a sweet chocolate idea to inspire her grade one and two students. Though this is her first year teaching at TIES, Ms. Kiera Robertson-Long, has been teaching long enough (Nine years minus a couple of years off during maternity leave) to know how to keep her students engaged in learning. Ms. Robertson-Long says she “loves the idea of teaching students about the world beyond the walls of their school,” and by reaching out to local business owners Cindy and Derek of Ridgway Confections in Seeley’s Bay, she did just that. Shortly after returning to school after the winter holidays, Ms. RobertsonLong tasked her two grade one and two classes with a project to create a recipe for a valentine’s chocolate. Ms. Robertson-Long says thirty-seven students participated in the project “brainstorming ideas, translating words into French,” Robertson-Long’s colleague Mrs. Mallory Brennan joined in helping the kids create procedural writing pieces and posters. The project tied in nicely with the social studies curriculum teaching the kids about their community and entrepreneurship, says Ms. Robertson-Long. Cindy and Derek were quick to show their support and were challenged to choose a winner from the creative recipe entries. With such a difficult choice, Cindy and Derek selected one winner from each class. Noting that “the kids were super excited and just such fun,” Cindy said she and Derek “had the pleasure of going to the school and presenting the winning chocolates.” The winners included Mia Huck, who came up with the idea of the MH Special, a red heart with marshmallows and caramel inside and Brett Haffie, who designed Ukraine Love, a yellow and blue heart with a fudge filling. The creative owners of Ridgway Confections took the elementary school project one step further by proudly producing Mia and Brett’s chocolates to showcase in their store over Valentine’s. The kids were undoubtedly thrilled to have their own chocolates (recreated by Derek and Cindy) featured in the local chocolate shop. Cindy and Derek were equally thrilled to be part of the school project and said, “it is obvious Ms. Robertson-Long is well loved by her students,” stating that we need more teachers like her. I asked Cindy if they would consider doing this for other schools since it seems like such a great way to inspire creativity in the classroom and perhaps even in the kitchen. Without hesitation, Cindy said they would be open to other requests and even suggested there could be a way to use it as a school fundraiser in the future. Mia and Brett aren’t the only winners with this chocolate-inspired project. In my opinion, all the students in Ms. RobertsonLong’s classes are winners as they enjoy having a teacher who gives the gift of creative learning, connecting students to their community. We all win with teachers like Ms. Robertson-Long, Mrs. Brennan and business owners like Cindy and Derek of Ridgway Confections. They are inspiring the young minds of our future.
We had the pleasure of working with Caroline Yung and Doug McLellan to participate in a promotional video series (Grow Your Business, Love Your Lifestyle). What fun - you can check it out here: youtu.be/3wi6mH_E4iQ
Wayne Lowrie came to visit us in Seeley's Bay. www.thewhig.com/2018/01/10/sweet-life-in-seeleys-bay
The chocolatier was interviewed by Mike Postovit from Global News - you can see it by clicking here: