By Melissa Hoos with Alana Hill – Brighton, Colorado …How do you successfully hold a school fundraiser when we can’t gather together in large groups? Of course, you host a version of the television show “Chopped” online.

Typically, one Saturday evening in October, the Brighton school holds Fall Festival with food, games, and socializing as an annual fundraiser. This year, that would not be an option. After brainstorming, parents Melissa Hoos and Alana Hill came up with a simplified version of the Food Network show, “Chopped.”

Show contestants are given a basket of roughly five ingredients to make a dish. Instead of a mystery ingredient basket, families paid $25 to get a BAA bag of 6 mystery ingredients. The bags also contained a can of a veggie, fruit or bean, with the label torn off for “extra” mystery.

Items included apples, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, corn muffin mix, instant potatoes, pop tarts, pudding, graham cracker crusts, mustard and saltines. Contestants had to use all the ingredients in one or two dishes.

The “Chopped” bags were handed out Thursday and families could make their dishes any time before Saturday evening.

In a Zoom version of the show, Saturday night participants shared their creation with guest judge, BAA Alumni/former teacher, Molly Santana, Campion Academy Girls’ dean.

Since tasting was impossible for Santana, winners for four categories were chosen based on presentation: “Best Overall Dish,” “Prettiest Dish” (two winners), “Most Creative Dish,” and the dish “Most Nervous to Try.”

Contestants did find willing, or unknowing, volunteers to taste their creations. In a video posted to BAA’s Facebook page, one of these tasters was heard “Alright, a little leery of this [smelling the dish several times]…its not bad….what’s in here?”

Students enjoyed the unique experience.

“I think it was really nice because I got to spend time with my family and I think my dish turned out delicious,” Brooklyn Hill, sixth grader said.

Irene Nishimwa, 6th grader commented, “It was fun because we got to use our imaginations to make something creative.”

“I got to put black beans and sweet potatoes into the blender and bake it.  I learned that it is really fun to cook,” Sienna Radu, third grader said.

The online fundraiser attracted 35 participants and BAA was able to raise a little over $1,000 for the student aid fund.

If you would like to see pictures and videos of the dishes our families came up with please visit