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Students learn culinary arts in Scecina's Baking Club

Sam Staufer

Senior Sam Staufer prepares some batter during a session of the Scecina Baking Club.

By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications

"So what’s baking today?” Coach Dave Gandolph ’68 asks as he wanders into Scecina’s cafeteria for another practice. 

The Crusaders baseball coach usually is more concerned with a batting lineup than cookie or cake batter. But when the Scecina Baking Club is at work in the kitchen near the batting cages, Coach Gandolph sometimes can’t resist the goodies. 

The Baking Club is happy to share. In the school’s commercial kitchen, they’ve baked dozens upon dozens of cookies and other treats for Scecina events. 

The Baking Club is another example of a Scecina club started at a student’s request. Jean Donlan, assistant to Scecina President Joe Therber, and parent and caterer Laura Johnston fired up the Baking Club in August 2014. Aaron Okerson, then a sophomore, worked part-time at Hart Bakery on East 10th Street. He wanted to share his love of baking with other students. 

“It really was in response to students’ desire to bake and spend time in the kitchen,” said Mrs. Donlan. This year there are about 23 student bakers, she said. Therese Myers, a former Scecina parent, has been helping this year. 

"The students enjoy working in the kitchen and learning new skills they can use at home,” said Mrs. Donlan. “They enjoy spending time together and doing service through baking for Scecina events. And, of course, they love eating whatever we are baking.” 

Senior Sam Staufer is in Baking Club for a second year. His reason? “Men should learn to bake.” 

Sam said he knew how to cook but not bake. “I’ll have to go to college so I’ll have to cook for myself,” he said. At Baking Club, he’s made pies, cakes, cookies, Rice Krispie treats, cheesecake, sweet/salty Chex Mix, dipped pretzels and pizzas. He even made and decorated a giant seashell cake, with the help of visiting tutor Diane Beasley ’58, who brought her cake pans and decorating kit. 

The young bakers also must follow the recipe for patience. “Getting a cheesecake right can be challenging, and cake pops are labor-intensive,” said Mrs. Donlan. She recalls the time students read “tablespoon” instead of “teaspoon.” Let’s just say the brownies were a little salty! They ate their mistake. Such slip-ups are part of the learning process. 

Baking Club checks all the boxes of Scecina’s mission to guide students “to attain educational excellence, be lifelong learners and to live as servant leaders in the inspiring footsteps of Father Thomas Scecina”: 

1. Reading recipes and working out measurements are great brain exercises. 

2. Baking and cooking are skills that students can use forever and continue to build upon, perhaps even as a career. 

3. Creating food for school events helps the club members serve and lead their Scecina community. They also have made soup for Garden Door Ministry for the homeless at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church and treats for the Scecina Key Club’s Ultimate Frisbee fundraiser. 

The students have baked treats for the Scecina Board of Directors at Christmas, visiting priests on Father Tom Day, the Christmas music concert, the Sisters of St. Francis movie viewing, the Class of 1962’s 55-year class reunion, boys basketball games, the staff, and the fall play. They even delivered chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin pie to some of Scecina’s neighbors. 

You could say the Baking Club feeds the soul at Scecina. 

Click here to watch the Baking Club video.

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Thomas Griffin '62 wrote:
For any class having a reunion at Scecina I recommend you have the baking club bake desserts for your class. You'll be glad you did!

Wed, December 6, 2017 @ 11:54 PM

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