Wilson students grant principal's wish

CONTRIBUTEDWilson Central School students and staff took part in a chocolate chip cookie contest recently in honor of retiring high school principal Dan Johnson. Pictured from left are: teacher Deborah Sweeney, whose Independent Living class organized the contest; Emily Phillips, middle school first place cookie maker; school nurse Sue Dean, top baker in the adult division; Dan Johnson, holding a plate of cookies; and Johnson's son Evan Johnson, high school first place cookie maker. 

Wilson Central School recently hosted its first-ever chocolate chip cookie contest, in honor of high school principal Daniel Johnson.

Johnson is retiring at the end of this month after 35 years with the district, 20 of them at the helm of the Wilson Lakemen.

The contest was born in Family and Consumer Science teacher Deborah Sweeney's Independent Living Class. Sweeney had asked her students to come up with something special to mark the occasion of Johnson's retirement, and upon learning a chocolate chip cookie contest was a longstanding wish of Johnson's, they decided to make it happen.

Students, teachers and adults were invited to bake chocolate chip cookies for judging. The Independent Living students created the rules and the judging criteria, marketed the contest and publicized the event. Thirty entries were judged blindly by Wilson Central staff and the Independent Living class.

"We hope to honor (Johnson's) legacy at Wilson and hope the contest will continue," senior Samantha Ellis said.

Alongside the contest, the class arranged a chocolate chip guessing contest in which all were invited to guess how many chocolate chips were in a large cookie jar. Guesses cost a small fee and the money raised was donated to the Summit Center, Johnson's choice non-profit organization.

Winners in the middle school division of the cookie contest were Emily Phillips, Elija Rahelich, Vatrini Levesque and Jacob Austin. High school division winners were Evan Johnson, Justin Messing, Kenzie Beyer and Stephanie Porter; the latter two were tied. Adult division winners were Sue Dean, Sandy Walch, Karen Jordan and Marcia Smith.