Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of the meals on the menu for Cordova School District students. Photo courtesy Sandie Ponte

By Sandie Ponte, For the Cordova Times

It has been my pleasure to provide fresh, healthy meals for our city’s students for the last 22 plus years, along with my stellar crew, Aileen Allison, Rowena Carig, Brian Wildrick and volunteer Keila Gonzalez. I also have worked on the Alaska School Nutrition Association Board for the past eight years and am the immediate past president.

We have several programs we are especially proud of. One of which is our Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Every morning the students at the elementary school get a fresh fruit or vegetable snack. Along with the basic options such as apples, oranges and carrots, we introduce the kids to unfamiliar items, such as dragon fruit, kumquats, limequats, star fruit and many others.

Another program is our Summer Breakfast and Lunch Programs. For the past 15 years we have participated in SFSP (Summer Food Service Program). It allows all children 18 and under to eat breakfast and lunch at no charge. Some years we have had up to eight sites where this was available, but the kids prefer to have a hot meal option that we can only supply at the school.

And let’s not forget Fish to School. Where else but Cordova can we serve our kids Copper River Red Salmon, the best salmon in the world! Thanks to our fisherman and women, local canneries and CDFU for making this possible. We are also looking into using moose in our schools. We did a small trial before the pandemic with a donated hind quarter and it seemed to go over very well with the students.

Sandie Ponte has been providing Cordova students with delicious meals for more than two decades. Photo courtesy Sandie Ponte

In the past couple of years, we have added several new menu items. One item is a breakfast kolach, inspired by the wonderful Little Cordova Bakery. It’s scrambled eggs, sausage and cheese baked inside fresh dough. It was an instant hit.


Other new items are Mongolian chicken breast (grilled chicken breast marinated in a Mongolian sauce); whole wheat cheese ravioli with spaghetti sauce; Stromboli (ham, turkey, pepperoni, American cheese, mozzarella and cheddar baked inside fresh dough); Chicken Adobo with pancit (a Philippine favorite); Alaskan Pollock fish sticks; scrumptious coffee cake and pork carnitas (shredded pork in a citrus marinade and grilled with fresh cilantro, jalapeno peppers and lime juice).

I look forward to several more years with my kids.

Thank you,

Sandie Ponte

Sandie is the food service manager for the Cordova School District. This piece is part of a monthly series highlighting aspects of the school district.