As part of this year’s Inventing Self series, students in the district's XCEL program were visited by chef Michael Guasta, a Culinary Academy of Long Island graduate and CEO of the Pure Sugar bakery in Amityville, and Christen Lambert, an investment banker and board president of Lodestar Children’s Services, a nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic care for children and families suffering from psychiatric ailments.
After presenting the life events that led them to their respective careers, Guasta and Lambert were inspired by the students’ questions to provide them with a unique opportunity called Kids Helping Kids. Four students – Parker Barry, Erica DeLapi, Lauren Limmer and Jaci Narducci, all students at Islip Middle School – wrote proposals to be considered, which included designing a dessert they would like to make for a fundraiser and writing an essay about why they wanted to be a part of the project. The students were interviewed by Guasta, Lambert and Lodestar founder James Regan, who were so impressed that they decided to invite all four students to work with Guasta on the desserts they designed for a Lodestar fundraiser at Pure Sugar.
“It was interesting because I’d never really baked before,” said Limmer. “Baking was kind of new to me, and I learned a lot about baking while I was doing it. I didn’t expect that, I actually learned more than I thought I would.”
“When we baked for the fundraiser, we hoped that people enjoyed what we made because it’s a really great organization,” said DeLapi.