By ALVIN REINER
---- — ESSEX — Students and faculty from Willsboro Central School took over serving diners at the Essex Inn recently to raise money for the school’s CFES Club.
CFES (College for Every Student) aims to encourage and prepare students to attend college.
Willsboro Superintendent Stephen Broadwell, along with faculty members, worked alongside students to serve guests for the fundraiser, called Service with Purpose.
“This is a great opportunity for us to interact with the community,” said Broadwell.
Essex Inn chef Josh Archer selected three gourmet meals for the evening, served with house salad, freshly baked bread and cheesecake, at a reduced rate.
“My job is to get people in the door with great prices and then wow them with amazing food,” said Archer.
“As long as the students do well on the service end,” he joked, “we will have a successful fundraiser.”
Tips collected went toward Willsboro Central School’s New York City student exchange, which allows local CFES students to visit two schools in Harlem and a New York City college.
“This will be the fifth year that we have participated in the New York City exchange,” said Willsboro French teacher and CFES adviser Marie Blatchley, “and it is always a memorable and anticipated event for our students.”
A pleased Broadwell said the fundraising dinner “was a huge success, raising over $1,100 for the club. We are very appreciative to the Essex Inn for the opportunity to work in conjunction with the students, as well as all the community members who attended and were so very generous. Everyone had a great time, and the evening was a total success.”
Blatchley echoed his sentiments.
“The success of this dinner and fundraiser has more than exceeded our expectations ... I am humbled by the generosity of our supporters and of those who made this event possible. Chef Josh Archer and his team were so accommodating and made sure everything ran smoothly despite our lack of experience in the restaurant business.”
The Essex Inn, Ausable Chasm, the Carriage House, Cable Communications, Johnny’s Smokehouse & Sports Bar and Byrd’s Country Store donated prizes, which were raffled off.
Inn proprietors Gladys and Josh Archer also contributed 5 percent of the sales generated by the event to CFES.
“It was also a neat experience in that the roles were reversed for once, as some of our CFES Scholars who work at the Inn were our leaders in training us, supporting us, directing us and giving us positive reinforcement,” Blatchley said.
“It was so successful and people had such a good time that we hope to have it become an annual tradition.”
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