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April 3, 2023

Old Kentucky Home Middle School Special Ed Class Visits My Old Kentucky Dinner Train

On March 23rd, a special education class from Old Kentucky Home Middle School visited R. J. Corman's My Old Kentucky Dinner Train in Bardstown, KY to expand on practical skills they were learning in the classroom out in a real-life scenario.

Amber Priddy teaches students grades 6th-8th with moderate to severe disabilities. Her main goals with the students are to seek career exploration activities and teach them practical skills in the ways that best suit them. The class focuses on individualized lessons and then utilizes them in the community. They work diligently on practical skills and academic, functional, communication, social, and adaptive skills that will allow them to be independent when they graduate.

As well as being a teacher at the middle school, Amber has been a server at My Old Kentucky Dinner Train for three years. With this prior connection established, she thought it would be a unique experience for her class to visit My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, as a more traditional restaurant would only let the class observe. The Dinner Train allowed them to use their practical knowledge at their own pace. "The kids are going to learn more by doing than just seeing and hearing," said Amber as the students practiced preparing food and familiarizing themselves with the space. "When they can actually use their hands and be involved, they are really going to retain those skills."

Accompanying the class were six peer tutor students. Peer tutors are fellow middle school students who applied to be leaders in the classroom. They partner with individual students to allow a one-on-one connection and work with them daily. "All the relationships I have built with them and just the fact that I get to enjoy all the time with them is so special to me," said Annie, a 7th-grade peer tutor at Old Kentucky Home Middle School, after helping students prepare food in the kitchen. "Working in the kitchen was very fun! The students were happy to spread out the chicken and the fries, so that was great," continued Annie.

My Old Kentucky Dinner Train's team enjoyed having the class and engaged with them throughout their visit. "We had so much fun showing the students what we do and what it may be like to work in a restaurant," said Veronica Gettinger, My Old Kentucky Dinner Train Marketing & Events Manager, about the visit. "It's always fun to share what you do - especially with a group who is so excited to learn about it."