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Editor's column: Lasagna supports music in Hancock Schools

Julie Milander scoops up a serving of lasagna during the Dec. 5 lasagna meal at the Hancock Schools K-12 concert. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times

Music is very well supported at Hancock Schools, Carrie Jepma declared inside the school kitchen on Dec. 5.

Music is supported so much that no one blinks when asked to bake lasagna, bake bars, bring lettuce or bread or milk to the annual lasagna dinner held each evening of the annual K-12 Christmas concert.

None of the parents who worked to serve lasagna and other food for the annual meal could recall exactly when the meal started.

"I think the kids were in kindergarten or elementary. It's been 10 or 15 years for sure," Julie Milander said.

"I'd say it's been all of that," Jepma said.

No matter how long it's happened. As I watched the workers in the kitchen it was clear the meal has been happening for some time. Those removing bars from pans to place them on bigger pans or those filling bread trays moved efficiently. The servers had about an hour to feed a few hundred folks between the elementary concert and the second set of concerts on the night.

Jepma and Milander were quick to credit the operation's efficiency to organizer Kaci Millette.

"She organizes it. Kaci's in charge," Jepma said.

While 9 x 13 aluminum pans of lasagna bubbled on a stove top, Millette brushed off the praise for organizing.

"It's easy, everyone brings something," Millette said.

Sure, it's easy because parents are willing to bring the food items. Still someone needs to contact the parents and organize the list of meal ingredients.

Jepma said Millette makes sure parents bring items that fit their schedule, whether it's lasagna, lettuce, milk or some other ingredient. Some find it better to work that night.

A steady stream of diners flowed past the kitchen counter on Dec. 5. At times the line stretched up the stairs, around the corner and ended by the boys bathroom outside the big gym. For those of you not familiar with the Hancock school, that's at least a block long.

But the line wasn't long because the kitchen was slow. In case you've missed some of the stories, Hancock's school enrollment has grown. And there were plenty of parents and grandparents and kids eating lasagna on Dec. 5.

"We plan to serve about 350 people," Millette said. Millette asked for 38 pans of lasagna. The lasagna could be homemade or store-bought. Each pan produced 12 pieces of lasagna.

Dozens of trays of bars were also brought for dessert. Bars which I believe included Special K, brownies, chocolate chip and others.

As I stood to the side, someone asked for a large dishrag. Millette pointed to where it could be found.

Jennifer Shaw announced another pan of lasagna would be needed up front. Trays of bars passed through a door to table in the dining hall.

It was just another annual lasagna night for the music boosters in Hancock.

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