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The Final Roast - 16 Years of Serving Up Hot Dogs and Feeding Friendship
Lindsey Hab, Director of Marketing and Communications
Hockey Dog Moms

If you are a Clark parent, opting in for a hot lunch for your child, you've likely purchased what we call a "hockey dog" - a hot dog, chips, and a cookie that helps cover the costs of our middle school hockey program. You may be delighted for one less lunch to pack and one more happy child who will enjoy a hot dog at lunch. But what comes in a brown paper bag labeled with your child's name is much more than just a hot dog; it's a story of friendship, service, and passion for Stanley Clark that dates back 16 years.

"Hockey is something that makes Stanley Clark unique, and I didn't want to see it go away," said Beth Garatoni, who started the Hockey Dog program in 2008. At the time, the hockey program was at risk of being cut due to the high cost of ice time and bussing. Beth, a current parent at the time, wanted to help ensure every student had the opportunity to learn to ice skate. "All of my kids skated at Clark," she shared. Her oldest daughter, Lauren (SCS '08), even went on to play Women's Club Hockey at Notre Dame.

And so the Hockey Dogs program began. "We sent out paper forms, and families sent in cash to pay for them." Twice a month, just as it is now, volunteers came together to cook, package, and distribute hot dog lunches to students every other Wednesday. "We had a lot of people helping in the beginning," Beth recalled, including Shetal Patel, one of the early members. And then one year led to the next, which led to the next. A consistent group of volunteers emerged over time, and they committed to each other to continue serving hot dogs until all their children had graduated from Clark. And so they did, for 15 years, and then some. Josh, the last child still at Clark from the group of Hockey Dog Moms, graduated last year in 2023. With no more students enrolled, the school was fortunate to have this exceptional group of alum parents willingly volunteer for an extra year for the 2023-2024 school year. "I think I just didn't want to be done yet. I love the school, and it is a great way to stay connected. We all work our schedules around it," said Beth.

Hockey Dog Moms

And work their schedules around it, they did. Every Wednesday morning, they gathered at the school by 9:00 a.m. to start the cookers, label and fill bags, wrap up hot dogs, and deliver them around the school. "We've made hot dogs all over the school," Beth shared. From the RAC to the Extended Day Room, the Piano Room to the Hallway, they went where space allowed each year. "One time, we blew a fuse, and they had to go on the roof to fix it." After distributing lunch, the team connects over their own lunch at various restaurants around town, spending the afternoon together - establishing deep friendships and bonds during the hours spent together. "We all leave feeling much calmer."

Hockey Dog Moms as Talent Show Judges

More than Hockey Dogs, this group has volunteered all across the board at Clark, including judging the talent show, serving at the Fun Fair and PAC the BAAC, coordinating Teacher Appreciation lunches, helping with Kaleidoscope, and so much more. "Stanley Clark has given so much to my kids and my family. It's one thing to donate, and it's another to give of your time. We love to be in the building, seeing the kids, and being a part of it," said Beth.

Hockey Dog Moms in Chicago Supporting Shetal

From trips to New York to Disney World to all traveling to Chicago to support Shetal when she became a U.S. citizen, their friendship extends well outside the walls of Stanley Clark. One time, Beth and Chris even chased down the Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile.

Beth and Chris Dressed as Hot Dogs in front of the Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile

And now, after serving an estimated 40,000 hot dogs, our seven incredible volunteers have completed what they fondly refer to as "Their Final Roast." We can't thank them enough for their generous years of service to the Stanley Clark community and dedication to our students. You are always welcome here at home!

Honoring the Hockey Dog Moms and their families at The Final Roast

Beth Garatoni, Georgette Lochmandy, Wendy Noble, Shetal Patel, Jen Rhee,
Sherry Swank, Chris Taylor 

Honoring the Hockey Dog Moms with gifts and flowers on their last day


Honoring the Hockey Dog Moms with gifts and flowers on their last day



About the Author

Lindsey Hab

Lindsey Hab

Director of Marketing and Communications

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