Students volunteer in massive tamale-making effort to support Be the One

Students volunteer in massive tamale-making effort to support Be the One
Posted on 02/06/2018

The goal was modest for Lisa Reynolds and Ramona Slagle: Sell 70 dozen tamales as a fundraiser so Lynden High’s Be the One program could offer an after-school improv class for all LHS students. The students volunteering in the fundraiser effort more than doubled the goal, selling 174 dozen tamales (that is over 2,000 individual tamales) and more than covering the cost of the improv class from Improv Playworks.

Of course, those tamales weren’t some mass-produced variety, they were hand-made by about 15 students—largely from the high school’s First Generation Club—and a few staff and community volunteers, all under the direction of Slagle, a Be the One board member.

“It was quite an effort,” says Reynolds, the school’s Be the One director.

The idea for the fundraiser came from Slagle and her mentee. With the success of the selling, it made for an intense time of making tamales during a tamalada (tamale-making party). Slagle led the effort of purchasing supplies and ingredients, then the group rented the Expo Building at the NW Washington Fairgrounds on a Tuesday for creation day. A small group started at 9 a.m. to soak the corn husks and prep ingredients. After school, the 15 students joined the effort from about 2:30 to 7 p.m., with everyone working on part of the process, from making masa, flattening tortillas in a press, making the filling, wrapping and packaging the tamales for steaming.

“It was quite a process and now I truly appreciate all that is involved,” Reynolds says. “Many of the kids had done it before with their families, but others had never done it before.”

The task was so large it took volunteers a second day to finish the ordering. “We were just overwhelmed by the amount of orders,” Reynolds says. “It is really quite amazing and neat to see everybody work together. We had a lot of fun.”

The fundraiser netted enough money for Reynolds to offer two sessions of the improv class, which kicked off its first eight-week run in February.