A paring knife, a coping saw, a ladle or a lathe.
When a student picks up a tool to make a meal or build a shelf, he or she might not be thinking, in that moment, about launching a career or perfecting a craft.
However, if the student attends Mashpee Middle/High School, there is a good chance that the skill was fostered in the school’s culinary lab or woodshop.
Two new career and technical education (or CTE) teachers started work last month—culinary teacher William J. Stoloski Jr. and applied technology teacher Anthony B. Chiuppi. Both are already helping expand the tool chests of students in grades 7 to 12.
“The CTE program is a multilayered experience for students,” said Michael P. Looney, CTE department coordinator for the Mashpee Public Schools. “We help them find their passion.”
Chef Stoloski took the position after the former culinary teacher, Chef Lisa M. Holmes, left the school district to pursue another opportunity.
In April, Chef Holmes led Mashpee High School’s team in representing Massachusetts in the country’s premier high school culinary arts competition, the National ProStart Invitational in Charleston, South Carolina.
During a visit to the school Tuesday morning, October 17, Chef Stoloski said he was already preparing this year’s ProStart team, which includes three returning members, for competition.
He brings ample industry experience at businesses throughout New England. He has recently worked for The Compass Group, a leading food service company, and was a sous chef at Tabor Academy in Marion and a chef at Raytheon’s Waltham headquarters. He was also a chef at the Ashland headquarters of Kidde, a fire extinguisher manufacturer.
“I want to share my experience and inspire ownership and entrepreneurship in my students,” he said.
After graduating from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Chef Stoloski spent a gap year working as a ship’s cook in Camden, Maine, where he first considered cooking as a career.
Later, he attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he received his associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees while working as a kitchen manager for the 99 Restaurant.
“Since then, I’ve worked in public schools in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine as a paraprofessional, assistant teacher and co-teacher, particularly with special needs students,” he said. “If I had to do it again, I would have studied special education rather than vocational education.”
He now lives in Plymouth with his family. His wife, Kim Stoloski, is an assistant principal at a middle school in Weymouth.
“Right now all my classes are working on a unit on ‘doughs from around the world,’” he said. “Each kid prepares, makes and eats the dough. We have made pastas, tortillas, gnocchi, crepes. We’ve also made beignets, which are New Orleans-style doughnuts. It differs by class depending on how sophisticated their technique is. Older kids will jump in while younger kids will need a little more help.”
Students are also working on the costing of menu items, he said.
Chef Stoloski, who likes to play music in his lab while teaching, said that a strong social media presence is important to his classes. Students build websites using Google Drive and other tools to post photos of their dishes and showcase their work online.
Down the hall from the culinary lab in the school’s woodshop, Mr. Chiuppi (pronounced “cue-pee”) is taking over for longtime teacher Kevin M. Blute, who will retire at the end of this month.
“He’s fitting right in,” said Mr. Blute, who has been working with Mr. Chiuppi for the past month.
“I’m happy to have Mr. Blute here at the beginning of the year for a smooth transition,” Mr. Chiuppi said. “It’s nice seeing what Mr. Blute has done over the years. I’m trying to infuse my own methods and philosophy.”
A Middleborough native who now lives in Lakeville, Mr. Chiuppi worked often with his father, who owns a carpentry and construction business, while growing up.
After graduating from the University of Southern Maine in Portland, he taught from 2005 to 2014 at a private, publicly funded, nonprofit school in Cambridge called Farr Academy. He taught courses in woodworking, math and Russian language to students in grades 7 to 12.
“My educational philosophy formed in part at Farr Academy,” he said. “These were angry kids with social-emotional difficulties. It’s about building relationships with kids: how to direct their negative energy into something productive, how to problem-solve with kids when they are struggling. Woodworking is a good, hands-on avenue for that.”
Between 2014 and 2017 he taught at Kennedy Middle School in Woburn.
“I liked working with younger kids, but it limited my ability to bring kids to a higher level in their work,” he said.
Earlier this year he said he had opportunities to work in both Marshfield and Mashpee.
“The Marshfield job was mostly teaching AutoCAD,” he said. “When I met with Mr. Looney in Mashpee, I could see that he and I had a similar philosophy. It’s all about collaboration here, with teachers working together as a team. This school has so much to offer, with great technology, especially when you get to higher-level courses.”
He said the 16-to-1 teacher/student ratio in most classes, with higher-level courses having 6 to 10 students to one teacher, allows more in-depth instruction than teaching at a larger school might offer.
Of his main applied technology course, which has three consecutive parts (two half-years and one full year), he said he is interested in “making connections between the real world and what we’re doing here in class.”
Carpentry and construction projects allow students the chance to apply in a tangible form the math, geometry, visual design and science they are learning in their other courses, he said.
Students progress from simple projects such as shelves and boxes using hand tools and measuring devices to more complex projects such as intricately lettered signs and electric guitars using power tools and a digital engraving machine.
In higher-level courses, students use 3-D modeling and 2-D design software such as Creo Parametric and Adobe Illustrator. They also use Adobe Aspire to operate the school’s ShopBot, a computer-controlled wood-cutting tool.
Advanced students have brought their technical and artistic skills to many beautiful and marketable projects, Mr. Chiuppi said.
“One student is shaping the spindles and crafting the seat for a chair he designed in Creo Parametric,” he said. “For inspiration, I’ll show my students examples of fine furniture-making and will take them on a field trip to Saltwater Woodworks in Falmouth and Mashpee.”
As with Chef Stoloski’s culinary students, each woodshop student builds a website that serves as a digital portfolio that features all of their finished and in-progress projects.
“How you present yourself and your work is very important,” he said. “Students also learn how to market their project as a product, and we make templates and duplicates using a copy router. It saves time and it’s better for business purposes.”
More than 60 career and technical education students attended the Construction Career Day at Cape Cod Fairgrounds in Falmouth Thursday, October 19, to make connections with local companies in engineering, architecture, cabinetry and other fields.