Cookies bring in cash for schools

May 10, 2011

By Laura Geggel

The Issaquah Schools Foundation has given so much to culinary teacher Gail Oseran, she has decided to pay it forward with stacks of cookies.

More than 100 students at Pine Lake Middle School — including Maia Nguyen (left), Molly Monroe, Megan Sparling, Joey Rosauer, Sean Curtis, Jeff Al-azzawe, Spencer Harrison and Krishna Puvvada — baked cookies to sell at the Issaquah Schools Foundation benefit luncheon. The students raised $2,400 for the foundation. By Laura Geggel

Snickerdoodles, coconut almond toffee chew bars, chocolate biscotti — you name it, her students have baked it.

For the past five years, Oseran’s students have made cookies and other treats for the Issaquah Schools Foundation benefit luncheon. Parent volunteers mix and match the cookies into containers — mini cookie jars for guests at the luncheon willing to pay $20.

This year, students baked enough cookies for 120 cookie jars, raising $2,400 for the foundation.

Oseran tells her students their contribution is a mitzvah — a Hebrew word meaning “a good deed.”

“It was fun baking and it’s going to a good cause,” said sixth-grader Megan Sparling, who baked a batch of sugar cookies with her friend.

Her classmate Molly Monroe made chocolate chip cookies, a treat because she has liked cooking for years, and culinary arts “is my favorite class this year.”

Eighth-grader Jeff Al-azzawe made chocolate chip crackled cupcakes.

“I didn’t do it for the extra credit,” he said. “I did it for the cause.”

Oseran frequently reminds her students about the cause — her support for the Issaquah Schools Foundation. In the past eight years, she has received four grants from the foundation, totaling about $15,000.

“I could not do what we do” without the grants, she said.

Oseran teaches beginning to advanced cooking to every grade at Pine Lake, and has a class for children with special needs. She constantly needs money for new cooking supplies for the trimester class.

The grants have helped her finance her classroom’s culinary preparation tables, stools and cooking equipment. This year, Oseran used her grant money to replace items that would improve kitchen safety and sanitation. She also bought new containers for ingredients, such as sugar and flour, so students would be able to streamline their workspaces.

Giving back to the foundation is a yearlong affair. During Pine Lake’s parent curriculum night in September, Oseran asks parents if they would like to contribute to the foundation’s spring fundraiser. Parents who agree can register their children, who, in turn, bake the cookies for the foundation’s benefit in April.

For sixth-grader Julia Buck, the hardest part of baking raspberry cream-filled brownies was layering the dessert with the filling in the center.

It all ended well, she said — “I like trying new things,”

Buck wasn’t the only adventurous person with a sweet tooth. At the foundation’s benefit April 28, the cookies sold out within 30 minutes. Sixth-grade students Nic Carbone and Nic Quinn told guests about their class, including the four-course menu and meal they had prepared for their parents for their final project.

Parent Karen Mady, a guest at the luncheon, bought one of the cookie jars.

“They look delicious,” she said. “It’s a nice way to contribute to the foundation and support the culinary arts program at Pine Lake Middle School.”

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or lgeggel@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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