Food was flying but students from Rowland Unified School District weren't in trouble on Tuesday.

The sixth-graders were being honored as special guests at Benihana's restaurant. The stellar students had been selected by their teachers as the most improved pupils in their schools.

"Congratulations to all these students, who have worked so hard in the classroom," said Superintendent Ruben Frutos as he walked from table to table to greet the kids.

Principals chatted amicably with their young guests as the chefs displayed their prowess at each table. Many of the students had never been to the famous Japanese restaurant before.

"We've been doing this for the past 15 years," said General Manager Raymond Chan. "And

Benihana chefs cook for Rowland students and principals. (Photo by Gina Ward, Courtesy of Rowland Unified)
we think it's great to recognize such improvement and change in our local students."

The proud principals were happy to brag a little about their students. They were genuinely impressed with the kids' character.

"Joshua Avila has been an amazing inspiration at our school," said Mercedes Lovie, principal at Blandford Elementary in Rowland Heights. "He has lots of friends and the teachers all agreed he has improved tremendously."

The soft-spoken 12-year-old grinned at the praise.

Summer Armstrong was a little more outspoken as she waited to be seated with Principal Kevin Despard. The 12-year-old from Oswalt Academy in Walnut smiled as she said she "was surprised by the invitation to have lunch at Benihana."

"All her teachers recommended Summer. They all said she has made a marked improvement in math this year," Despard said.

Soon the Rowland Unified staff and students were seated around four large grills, where they could experience teppanyaki style Japanese cooking. With a flourish, the friendly chefs served up salads for everyone.

Sixth grader Danny Lopez watched closely as his chef practiced a little sleight of hand with some vegetables. The 12-year-old was selected for his excellent work at Northam Elementary in La Puente.

Hollingworth Principal Michael Hoon proudly introduced his guest, 12-year-old Ghildha Mercado.

"Ghildha is such a well-rounded student. It's really great to see her grow socially and academically," said the principal at the West Covina school. Click HERE for entire story!