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After 87 years, say bye, bye pie at Wauka Mountain
School ends annual supper due to high cost, waning interest
Volunteers prepare plates of food at the 1989 Wauka Mountain Chicken Pie Supper. After an 87-year history, the event, usually held in mid-February, will not be held this year.

After 87 years of satisfying chicken lovers while raising thousands of dollars for its host school, this year’s traditional Chicken Pie Supper at Wauka Mountain Multiple Intelligences Academy will be replaced.

Kimberley Boyd, Wauka Mountain’s Parent-Teacher Organization president and former Chicken Pie Supper chairwoman, said after evaluating suppers held the last several years, the PTO concluded costs began to outweigh the benefits of holding the pie-centered fundraiser.

“Chicken pie is a long-standing tradition, and we thought over the past few years on how we could modify it to make it less work intensive and more profitable, but we couldn’t make it what we wanted it to be,” Boyd said.

The event began at Brookton Elementary, now Wauka Mountain, by selling the pies made of dough dumplings, chicken, broth and a pie crust as a way to raise money to repave a road outside the school. Over the years, it evolved into a community gathering where the school expected to raise at least $10,000, if not more, for various causes like a new playground, technological advancements and charter school initiatives.

“It was a community event, but it was also a fundraiser for the school. That’s what it began as, and it turned into a community event,” Boyd said.

She added that compared to most past events, attendance at recent suppers had decreased and support from sponsors was lacking. Boyd attributed the differences to a culture shift, partly due to the economy.

“I think that due to a culture change, we had a lack of sponsors. With the economy the way it is, businesses that used to give a lot had to change some things up,” Boyd said. “Usually, people would donate things for us to use, but then we had to start buying lots of the materials, so it wasn’t as profitable. Businesses can’t necessarily do what they used to do.”

In past years, Chicken Pie Supper organizers would begin securing sponsors, estimating food increments and preparing event tickets as early as October for the event, usually held the third week of February. Wauka Mountain’s grade levels were broken down into categories and assigned different materials to contribute, such as green beans and flour.

Teachers, parents and other volunteers would spend one weekend cooking and picking over 2,000 pounds of chicken and another weekend baking at least 125 small pies and 90 large pies.

“It got to a point where we would cook all of this and wouldn’t have many people showing up. We didn’t even run out of pies last year,” Boyd said. “Teachers would mainly volunteer and some of our parents. But one year, we’d have 1,500 people show up, and the next year we’d have 500 people. It doesn’t do what it was originally intended to do anymore.”

This year, Wauka Mountain will be holding a Boosterthon fundraiser, something Boyd said has been done by several other local schools. With the two-week Boosterthon program, students raise money based on the number of laps they run or walk or can be sponsored for a flat rate.

Boyd said this kind of fundraiser will enable all Wauka Mountain students to be involved in raising money to help their school.

“Boosterthon concentrates on wanting the students to grow athletically and building a sense of self. There’s a character component, a health component and the kids are involved,” Boyd said. “It really gets the kids involved in the fundraising for the school.”

Boyd said no decision has been made on what Boosterthon funds will go toward this year, but the fundraiser is set for late April to early May.

And for those who count on their chicken pie supper each year, Boyd said all is not lost.

“Even though we, as a school, cannot sponsor it this year, if someone else wants to pick it up, that would be great,” Boyd said. “Our principal (at Wauka Mountain) said we could still host it, and it’s not like we’re just going to do away with it. I will be happy to help anybody who wants to continue this legacy as a community project.”