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Occupational course of study students at Brunswick County Academy are on their way to sweet success.
For the nine students on the occupational course of study track, diploma requirements extend far beyond the classroom. About 900 hours of work experience must be completed in addition to regular coursework.
A student-based business is a requirement for the students, where they learn skills and strategies that will prepare them for “the real world,” Karen Babson, BCA school base chairperson, said.
“The goal of the business
is to get them ready for the workforce once they graduate,” she said.
For their business, the students run The Makin’ and Bakin’ Shoppe. At Christmas, they prepared full meals. This year, they focused their attention to baked goods with the expertise of Judy Pond, teaching assistant. Pond said many students had never baked before, and she was glad to help them.
“It’s just something I really enjoy,” she said. “The students got it just like that. They’ve been doing really well.”
Joseph Francas said he had never baked before, but he enjoys being a part of the business.
“Sometimes it takes so long [to bake something],” he said. “But I like being able to talk to my friends while working.”
The students had a Valentine’s Day bake sale and sold everything from cookies and brownies to candies. The students are so well known throughout the Academy they pre-sold more than 40 cakes before the sale began.
“They baked and baked and baked,” Babson said. “They made more than 40 cakes with two pans and one stove. They worked like crazy.”
In addition to baking, students made valentines, which other Academy students could buy for friends and have delivered to their classrooms.
Babson said the students are known for their tasty treats and professionally run business.
“Everybody in this school knows how clean we are, how well we cook, and how successful the students are,” she said. “That’s why we’re so successful—their reputation.”
Teachers from schools throughout the county stopped by the sale, as well as board of education and community members. Ellen Prokop was on her way to the county complex to get a shot but decided to drop by the bake sale first.
“This will sweeten up the shot a little,” she said as she bought a few cookies.
Jimmie Bass said working in the baking business teaches him more how to measure cups of water and flour.
“It helps us learn teamwork, math, and learning how to bake a cake so you could teach your kids to do it one day,” he said.
Bass recognizes the business’ success, but said it would not be possible without the help of Pond and Babson.
“We wouldn’t be able to do any of this if it wasn’t for our great teachers,” he said. “Ms. Babson is a very good teacher, and she taught us well. I can’t wait until the next sale so she can teach us more.”