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Chili Cook-Off Set In Plainview

Common core testing is the constant hot topic on the lips of teachers, parents and students in the Plainview community — but not when chili takes over on Feb. 25.

Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School’s PTA presents a chili cook-off benefiting Dollar’s for Scholars, a PTA program that awards graduating seniors for their dedicated involvement in school, the community and their family. Organized by the PTA, the third annual “POB’s Most Delicious” chili cook-off happens to fall close to National Chili Day; an added bonus that PTA mom and chili chair person Susan Stewart believes will add some spice to the event.

“This is a unique, fun way to raise funds,” said Stewart. “And what’s different about Dollars for Scholars is that it awards students for community involvement, not necessarily academic achievements.”

Stewart said anyone can join in the cook-off, as long as they have chili to present to the hungry spoon-wielding public. Registration for the cook-off is currently open; complete the entry form found at www.pobjfkpta.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/POBChiliCookOff, and send a $25 registration fee. The cook-off will be open to the public, with tickets costing $7 for adults and $10 at the door. All funds raised will benefit the PTA scholarship fund.

The event raised about $1,000 last year and Stewart would like to see that number grow at this year’s cook-off. Many local organizations and businesses have already committed to participating, including temples, hospitals and Buffalo Grille, an area eatery that knows a thing or two about chili preparation.

Stewart said the cook-off is a fun way to repay students for all the hardwork they take on each and every year.

“We want to repay the students for helping to make this a great community to live in,” she said, adding that students at Plainview routinely volunteer at senior homes, create their own charities and join clubs like DECA and SAD, all for the betterment of their community. “So many people focus on the negatives and we thought this is a great way to really shine a light on all the positive things our students accomplish. Every day, kids show us adults what it means to give back to the community.”

Beyond raising funds and loading up on chili, Stewart said the event provides an opportunity for students, parents and school faculty to come together for fun and not under the contentious atmosphere of common core discussions.

“Parents are concerned with common core testing, and rightfully so,” she said. “But on this night we ask that everyone leave politics at the door and enjoy each others company — we will provide the Tums.”

Besides chili, the evening will feature performances by the high school’s musicians including A Cappella groups, Chamber music students and the jazz ensemble. Each paying attendee will get the opportunity to vote for their favorite chili and crown a new champion; unless last year’s first-place winner Mia Schwartz can notch a repeat victory.

But the true winnes at an event like this are the students, according to Stewart.

“College costs are out of control,” she said. “And anything we can do to help is worth doing.”

The chili cook-off runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 25 in the POB-JFK gym, 50 Kennedy Dr.

For more information, contact Susan Stewart at 516-695-1320.