SHREWSBURY – Diners looking to satisfy their pizza cravings at the Shrewsbury Pizzaria found a new item on the menu during the month of February – “Magnificent Mushroom Madness.”
But this delectable pizza creation didn’t emerge from the mind of the restaurant’s professional pizza chefs. This masterpiece was the creation of a team of sixth-graders at Shrewsbury’s Sherwood Middle School.
Hansi Inavolu, Shreya Holla, Nethra Vignesh, representing 6 Lime, were chosen as the winners of Sherwood’s annual sixth grade pizza project. In what has quickly become a beloved tradition at the school, the approximately 150 students of the sixth grade’s pink, lime and green sections split up into teams of 3-5 and invent an original pizza creation.
This is no whimsical endeavor. The project takes several weeks and involves multiple facets.
“The students have to do research, reading articles on running a business, cost of ingredients, unit price, etc.,” said Abigayle Celata, a math and science teacher at Sherwood. “Once they have their recipe completed, they have to create a brochure and a commercial to market their pizza. Each component takes quite a bit of time and effort.”
The recipe for the winning pizza includes dough, sauce, cheese, green bell peppers, garlic and a generous helping of mushrooms.
The students create their pizzas though they aren’t able to actually cook them.
The judge for the contest is Brooke Lawson, a professional chef and the sister of Sherwood teacher Jacqui Lawson. Brooke Lawson chooses a winning pizza from each of the three sections then chooses an overall grand prize winner.
Unlike in past years, when the teams were battling solely for pride and school bragging rights, this year there was an added incentive – a spot on the menu of a local restaurant.
“Sherwood has done this project for a few years and Brooke Lawson has always come in to do the judging, but this is the first time we have involved a local restaurant,” said Celata. “It was an idea that was brought up and I think it got the kids excited. It added some competitive energy.”
Shrewsbury school district officials reached out to a few local pizza parlors and were able to strike an agreement with Shrewsbury Pizzaria, located 560 Main St., which agreed to add the winning recipe to its menu for the month of February.
Earlier this month, Hansi, Shreya and Nethra headed over to Shrewsbury Pizzeria after a half-day at school and were thrilled to see their creation on the menu and get a chance to taste the finished product.
“There were a bunch of the [Sherwood] kids over there. I’m not sure if they all got the Magnificent Mushroom Madness, but they were excited to see it on the menu,” said Celata.
Runners-up in the pizza project were “Meat-a-Licious” by 6 Pink and “The Slicer” by 6 Green.
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