Hawaiian sauce. Mozzerella cheese. Pepperoni. Italian sausage. Real bacon. All topped with black olives, sliced jalapeños and chunks of pineapple.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Knight.
Southpaws Perfect Pizza and Sports Pub in North Albany has long had a "Rebel" pizza, representing South Albany High School, and a "Bulldog" pizza for West Albany. That's something Albany Options School staff couldn't help but notice while holding a meeting at the restaurant one day.
"Next thing we knew, we're like, 'Let's do this. Let's come up with our own pizza,'" said Anna Harryman, the school's counselor.
The alternative high school program features the Knight as its logo, and green and white as its official colors. Southpaws agreed a Knight pizza would be just the ticket and even invited students to come try out their own recipes, which they did on May 10.
Nine AOS students participated in the challenge, each advised by an AOS staff member and a representative from Southpaws. The groups formed into teams of three and began brainstorming the perfect pizza.
Once ingredients were decided, team members took turns working in the Southpaws kitchen to assemble and bake their creations. Three school district officials, joined by School Resource Officer Ken Fandrum, acted as the judging panel.
Juniors Ethan Sjolander, Laurel Elliott and Abigail Ross came up with the winning formula, which Human Resources Administrator Rich Sipe called, "Delicious."
"All three of them had a 'yum' factor," Fandrum agreed. "I just think one of them excelled at the yum."
The judges, who also included Rich Guzman, Family Services consultant; and Jim Haggart, executive assistant to the superintendent, said they also greatly enjoyed the two other creations.
Juniors Mara Adams, Tyler Fournier and Hunter Coldwell started with a stuffed crust, which they augmented with a barbecue sauce base topped with cheese, grilled chicken, bacon, pineapple and red onion, all drizzled with teriyaki sauce.
Seniors Antonio May Uc and Dylan Coonrod, with junior Gabe Mena, chose a more simple formula: Hawaiian sauce on a crispy crust with mozzerella cheese, bacon and chopped jalapenos.
The Knight should make its official debut in June, when Southpaws redoes its menus, manager Tino Barreras said. (South Albany High is switching its "Rebel" name but no word yet on whether its pizza will change, too.)
The winning team members said they definitely plan to order their creation on subsequent visits.
"It's different," Ross explained.
Added Elliott: "It's different, 'cause we're different."
Barreras said Southpaws stresses local connections as much as it can and is glad to add an AOS representative to its menu.
"I think it's pretty awesome," he said. "It wouldn't be fair not to recognize AOS and all Principal John Hunter does."
As a judge, Guzman said he was just delighted to have pizza for lunch. "As long as it's edible, I'm good," he declared.
"There are no bad pizzas. Just pizzas we haven't met yet," Sipe proclaimed. And, he added: "The judges have all volunteered for the enchilada contest next week."
Said Fandrum: "Followed by the Jenny Craig challenge."
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