A flip of the spatula, a sprinkling of paprika, more time on the olive oil-soaked grill and the pita bread -- cooked by a teenager at Charles County's Radio Station Road Academy -- was ready. Meanwhile, students at a nearby table sliced vegetables and crumbled feta cheese and fried meat.

The teenagers are assigned to the academy after landing in trouble at their schools. This year, the academy changed its schedule so that elective courses complement academics, and students use their hands as much as their minds. After studying Greek culture, the school invited Asimina Gressis, owner of Ouzo's Greek and Regional Cuisine in La Plata, to give a hands-on demonstration.

Shawn King, 10, above, grills pita bread for gyro sandwiches during a special demonstration in a kitchen classroom at Charles County's Radio Station Road Academy. At left, James Cole, 11, stirs orzo soup under the supervision of Dennis Gressis of Ouzo's Greek and Regional Cuisine, a La Plata restaurant.A student crumbles feta cheese, above, to be used in a Greek salad. At right, Asimina Gressis, owner of Ouzo's Greek and Regional Cuisine, shows Lisa Racer, 14, the proper and safe way to slice tomatoes.