Students eat not-so-tasty treatsBy Mark Abramson
Sardines with whipped cream and chocolate chip cookies with mayonnaise may not be on the school menu anytime soon, but that didn't stop students at John Muir Elementary in San Bruno from gobbling down those and other gross dishes Friday.
Students in grades 1 through 6 challenged their taste buds with the not-so-tasty treats during their Fear Is Not A Factor assembly. It was part of the school's monthlong celebration during this year's San Bruno Park School District's centennial anniversary festivities.
Student body officers modeled the event after the sometimes-unimaginable things people eat on the TV show "Fear Factor," and the higher the grade level, the nastier the food seemed to get. The prize for each student who showed off his or her intestinal fortitude was a shiny blue pencil that read, "My principal is proud of me."
The Principal for a Day, fourth-grader Tony Pellegrini, emceed all the fun as the students cheered on their buddies by pumping their fists and chanting "eat, eat, eat!"
Student Body President and sixth-grader Mary O'Reilly got the idea for the event after she saw it at another school.
"It was just random ideas and something disgusting," she said about how the dishes were thought up. "It was definitely what I expected."
Dorian Aberouette was one of the lucky - or maybe not-so-lucky - fifth-graders selected to chow down on a helping of chocolate pudding with onions.
"It tasted like onions," she said. "I couldn't taste the pudding. I was really nervous. I don't really like onions."
Matt Ojakian's reaction to the pudding with onions was, "I hate it."
Fortunately for Dorian and Matt, perhaps the most disgusting, and certainly the smelliest, food was left for the sixth-graders. They got to eat sardines and whipped cream. Even chef Michele Magni, a mother of two students who were not selected to eat, refused to chop up the sardines.
"It's good morale for the school. It helps keep the kids interested," Magni said about the assembly.
Favian Gonzalez was one of the first-graders selected to eat a chocolate chip cookie with mayo.
"It was good," he said.
Favian said he would eat it again.
Other items on the Fear Is Not A Factor menu included ice cream with pickles for fourth-graders; spinach with tartar sauce for third-graders; and a doughnut with ketchup for second-graders.
"You couldn't pay me to eat this," Principal Fran Dunleavy said about the food.
Dunleavy said the assembly is part of the school's philosophy of creating a warm environment in which students work hard, but have a good time.
"I am absolutely amazed with the number of kids who wanted to do it," Dunleavy said. "It's a fun bonding thing."
Copyright ©2007 San Mateo Daily News. Published 04/14/2007.