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How Pizza-Making Transformed A Special Needs Program


Smiling with Hope students

We’ve always thought of pizza as a sort of cure-all. Had a bad day? Feeling under the weather? On a budget? Pizza will save you. But one high school special needs program is using pizza to not only educate its students, but also give them the tools necessary to find employment after graduation. 

They learn real-world skills instead as they bake pizza, cookies, bagels, and dog biscuits in their commercial-grade kitchen. Math, for instance, is about time, money, and measurement—all as integral to a bakery as flour and yeast.

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Photo by Walter Gloshinski

Alicia Hahn

Alicia Hahn is an online editorial intern for culture who excels at eating and enjoys writing, crosswords, and cooking (preferably with cheese). Originally from San Francisco, she moved to Boston for school and fell in love with the city (despite an annual campaign against winter). Her favorite place to be is the farmers’ market, where she finds weird and exciting ingredients to make or break her next meal.