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And hold the anchovies, please

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer
Micah Simon, left, and Aubrie Robards make pizzas Thursday.
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Donald Sandy first picked off the sausage and popped the tiny pieces into his mouth before loosening the pineapple chunks from the cheese and eating those. Then came the actual bite into his personal-size pizza at Round Table Pizza last week and the melted cheese stretching into his mouth.

It was early morning on a school day. And 13-year-old Donald and his eight other classmates were on a field trip like no other.

It was still well before 11 a.m. and a group of students with unique challenges came from Dayton Intermediate School with their teachers and providers and sat in a back room eating pizza, drinking soda, and having a good time.

Ramiro Rojas, 13, wanted to know if there was more pizza, but he had no complaints about the one he had just eaten.

He had made it.

“It’s great to just be here cuz you get to do a lot of fun stuff like make your own pizza and get your own drink,” he said.

A little earlier in the visit, after he and his classmates had practiced flattening dough, general manager Sherri Johnson had set up a scale. She pulled out pre-rolled personal-size crusts from a bag. Ramiro, using a docker, a rolling device with teeth, punched holes into the crust to allow it to breath.

He then used a brush to ‘paint’ the sauce on the pizza and measured out the requisite 21Ú2 ounces of cheese for a personal-size pizza. He went slightly over.

“OK, I’ve got to make it perfect,” he said, taking mozzarella back out.

He then put an ounce of ham and an ounce of pineapple on top, making the classic Hawaiian-style pizza.

“OK, I’m done,” he said.

While his classmate Janine White, 14, had topped her personal pizza with pepperoni, she wanted a lot more white stuff before it went in the oven.

“Can I put more cheese on top?” she asked.

The students are in a program at Dayton Intermediate geared toward teaching disabled children basic skills, particularly ones that might be used for self-support later in life. Their resource teacher, Ruthann Kolstad, said they are asked to do a lot of things around school, and have previous experience cooking through the school’s Coyote Cafe.

“They’re a great group of kids,” she said.

Other students attending the Round Table tour included Micah Simon, Aubrie Robards, Ramsey Snyder-Bryant and three others, whose parents did not want their names or images used.

Round Table, which opened in October 2005, in Dayton, offers tours to groups of children of all types, be they Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, schoolchildren or children in extracurricular groups.

“We just want to show them what goes into making a pizza,” Johnson said.

The group from Dayton Intermediate is the first to take advantage of her offer. The sessions are free and include a tour of the store, the details of the pizza-making process, practice kneading dough and a free personal-size pizza – made by the student.

“All Round Tables can do the tours, it just depends on the location.”

She said pizza making is more complex than putting cheese on a pizza and putting it in the oven.

“There is a lot more learning involved,” she said. “And as (employees) get more progressed, they get more responsibilities.”

Round Table is open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. It’s true – working in a pizza place can make eating pizza nothing nouveau.

“Oh yeah, but you also come up with new ideas for a lot of different promotions,” Johnson said. “The different combinations are from people who did trial and error.”

The sole caveat for a group wanting a tour is that it has to be done well before the store opens.

For the students from Dayton Intermediate, the trip was long awaited.

“They were real excited,” said assistant math teacher John Kramer. “For the past couple of weeks, they’ve been asking ‘Is it time?'”

The students received chocolate pudding for dessert and Round Table pens, pencils and miniature Frisbees.

— Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.

Take a tour

WHAT: Round Table tours for student groups

WHEN: Anytime before 11 a.m.

WHERE: Round Table Pizza, Highway 50 East, Dayton

CALL: General Manager Sherri Johnson at 246-1199