Ralph's on the Park News


Fifth-Grade Girls at Dibert Dine at Ralph's on the Park with their Sisters

Published on June 10, 2012
By Sheila Stroup

For the fifth grade girls at John Dibert Community School, May 31 was a special day. They came to school in party dresses and fancy shoes instead of uniforms, and after morning classes they walked from the school on Orleans Avenue to Ralph's on the Park a few blocks away.

While the fifth grade boys went off to play football in City Park, they were going out to lunch, and I was tagging along.

"We wanted them to have a shared experience where they felt beautiful and looked beautiful, and we wanted it to be an experience they wouldn't normally get," Sarah Bliss said. "For most of us teachers, it's one we wouldn't normally get either."

At the corner of Dumaine Street and City Park Avenue, we stopped for a moment, and math teacher Greta Anderson told the girls a little bit about Ralph's on the Park.

"This is one of the best restaurants in the city. You're going to taste amazing food," she said.

They might have the chance to try something they've never eaten before, she explained. They might try something that seemed a little different.

"If you try something you don't like, control your face," she told them.

But controlling their faces wasn't a problem. The girls were happy to sit with their friends at round tables covered with white tablecloths, happy to be served by handsome waiters, happy to eat the crusty french bread and try something new -- except, maybe, that oyster at the bottom of their seafood gumbo.

"Oh, you have to try the oyster," Chef Chip Flanagan said, when he stopped at our table to say hello. And most of them did.

Bliss, who teaches reading, came up with the idea of having a special end-of-the-year activity for Dibert's fifth grade girls.

"It will give them something to hang onto as they start to navigate the difficult waters of adolescence," she said. "The life of a middle school girl isn't easy."

Last year, the girls had tea at Windsor Court.

"But we decided we wanted to partner with someone in our neighborhood this year," Bliss said. "So I reached out to Ralph's on the Park."

And a partnership was born.


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