Ella Moskov understands: With great ziti comes great responsibility.
Moskov, 13, was part of the 60-student team that last week served a ziti dinner to dozens of people inside the cafeteria at Iroquois Middle School. Small cups of salad, fresh bread, coffee, milk, tea and desserts were also part of the catered meal deal.
The students, all Iroquois eighth-graders, took the assignment seriously. Funds raised will help pay for the class trip this spring.
"I like serving people," said Moscov, who took orders and returned minutes later with loaded trays. "It's really fun to come out and give people a place to come and enjoy."
Millie Ellenbogen, 14, also worked as a waitress during the dinner hours. She liked the meet, greet and eat evening.
"It's a great experience," she said. "And it's for a really good cause."
A team of eighth-grade teachers supervised the party.
"We have a curbside group that serves and delivers to cars," said Dennis Frank, who teaches social studies. "We had a set-up group that set up everything and a clean-up group. We have a wait staff."
Kids have heard about the dinner since they began studies at Iroquois.
"It's been an Iroquois tradition for decades," Frank said. "The eighth grade has been doing this, I would say, for 15 years."
The kids liked an adventure that mixed business savvy, fund raising and hanging out together. They even had to deal with the press.
"It's a good experience, getting into our futures," said waiter Sam Scamardo, 13. "It's fun to do and you can do it with your friends. But it's also like work."
Other kids loved the cultural aspect. "It's a sense of Italy right here in Niskayuna," said Anjana Kurian, 13, another server.
Niskayuna resident Jeremy Berry and his family - wife Karyn and kids Liam, 11, and Grace, 13 - gave the ziti dinner rave reviews. "Anything school-related, we love to support," Berry said.
"We love our kids and the teachers are great, too," added Art Harvey, another Niskayuna resident.
Adults and older kids paid $9 each for dinner. Small children were free.
Mary Dutcher, Anna Macko and Anna Brown, all 13, were able to break away from the take-out team to power up with pasta. The girls had expended plenty of energy.
"You had to move fast," Macko said.
Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]