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Centralia SMART students serving spaghetti to fund service programs

Posted on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 3:55 pm

SMART partnering with Co-Star Catering

Students and Mentors Achieving Responsibility Together, that is what SMART, a program currently serving an estimated Centralia R-VI 20 students between grades five and eight, stands for.

Next week, one could find from for another “S” in the acronym, it would stand for “Spaghetti,” as in the spaghetti dinner fundraiser the SMART students and Co-Star Catering of Centralia are hosting.

The afternoon of Wednesday, August 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. Co-Star Catering’s cooks will work with SMART’s students and teachers to serve a hope-for 200-plus servings of spaghetti and meat sauce, along with salad, bread and a chocolate chip cookie.

Co-Stars cooks will do the cooking and Matthiesen said the SMART teachers hoped to help with the prep-work the night before.

Kitchen action at JJ's during the SMART pancake breakfast.

Centralia’s SMART students partnering with Co-Star Catering to serve dinner in Centralia, Wednesday, August 12.

The meals will be available via drive-through service at Co-Star Catering at 590, North Jefferson Street.

Lisa Matthiesen, SMART founder, said the proceeds will help fund the program’s four service-learning projects, by which the students give back to the community while learning important life skills.

Those projects are:

  • Nurturing nursing home residents – “We visited nursing homes and the students played games, did crafts, painted nails, and read to residents who have trouble seeing,” Matthiesen said. “It was easy to see that our youth gained self-esteem and respect for their elders, received companionship, and felt useful.  Volunteering here was one of their favorite things to do.”
  • Validating Veterans – “Veterans met once a month and our students provided a snack for them each time. Our youth collaboratively decided what snack to make, listed the ingredients, shopped at our local grocery store, and then prepared it. They also made a full meal around Thanksgiving for the veterans.”
  • Providing for Preschoolers – “Each month the students created a Preschool Pack that included a new book, a school supply, and activities for the children to do at home with their family. We organized and hosted Preschool Night at CIS. Each SMART student partnered with a preschooler throughout the evening to participate in different stations which included reading, physical activities, games, and lots of fun. NHS students volunteered their time to help with the activities. During this time, parents could meet with the preschool teachers to obtain information and discuss kindergarten expectations. Everyone had a blast.”
  • Treating teachers – “Each teacher at our middle school was asked what they need for their classroom because they spend their own money on school supplies.  SMART students made gift bags with the needed supplies for each teacher along with treats and poems they wrote. They also made treat bags for Parent/Teacher Conferences, and they hosted breakfast during Teacher Appreciation week.”


She said the spaghetti dinner was an idea to help fund the program, which helps the independent students learn academic and personal self-sufficiency, as it waits to learn the results of Matthiesen’s grant-writing efforts. “The SMART board wanted a fundraiser that would not be too burdensome to the community while still following COVID-19 precautions,” Matthiesen said.

The goal is to raise $2,000, she said. “We are already receiving some large donations from people who cannot attend.”

Deena Cox, Co-Star’s founder, who has been in the catering business for five years, said she and her 13-member staff were glad to help.

“I am always willing to help the school district,” Cox said. “We’ve done similar things for the softball team and other programs. She called me and asked if I could help and I said ‘sure.’”

Cox said the secret to Co-Star’s tasty spaghetti was its home-made ingredients, especially home-made sauce, “it’s all in the sauce, and seasoning the pasta while cooking.”

And yes, the Fireside Guard asked, the seasoning is a secret recipe. The closest you can get to it, is visit Co-Star August 12, between 5 and 7 p.m.