The tables were turned in the cafeteria Tuesday around supper time.
Instead of sitting down to supper the sixth graders fed 300 family members and friends.
While they were at it they raised money to serve 17,000 meals to hungry people.
And to top things off they got a taste of the adult food service world at the school’s third annual Feeding America pasta dinner.
The evening was about food, hunger and service.
The students relished their roles from greeting guests to working in the kitchen, from busing tables to serving spaghetti and meatballs.
In the kitchen students including Joseph Harling slipped on plastic gloves and went to work.
Joseph was excited to be behind the serving line, a place he had never been.
“I really wanted to do this,” he said. “It’s very exciting to be here, especially in the kitchen.”
The kitchen smelled of grain and sauce and salad dressing.
Steam rose from wheat spaghetti and servers stirred the homemade sauce.
Student kitchen staff plated salad and student servers called out their orders and delivered them to tables.
Sixth graders Steven Santanello and Kendra Fitzgerald served the first salads of the evening.
Kendra said she learned in class that it’s not just homeless people who are hungry.
“Sometimes it’s kids like us who are hungry,” she said.
In the cafeteria host Luis Puello ushered guests to their tables with a smile.
“I like talking to people and making them laugh,” he said.
Server Anna Cilley made sure that dinner guests Tara Doucette and Barbara Doucette had coffee or water, bread and salad.
Tara was delighted by Anna’s earnest manner and attentiveness.
“It’s so cute,” she said.
“The kids are having fun with this,” Barbara said.
When Tara asked if there was butter for the bread, Anna rushed to the kitchen get an answer.
Social studies teacher Pam Larson and English teacher Brandon Lewis coordinated the dinner.
They talked to the students in class about the millions of American children who are food insecure, uncertain at one time or another whether they will go hungry.
Donations from the diners raises money for three food banks in the state.
Each year the Swampscott kids have raised a little more money at the pasta dinner. Last year they brought in almost $2,500.
The project works on a couple levels, Pam said.
The students can feel good about helping people in need. Also, they learn about the value of community service. And they have fun.
“We’re trying to build a complete student,” she said.