Baking buddies: Senior project helps i-CARE students make tasty treats

Columbus North senior Morgan Allen, center, and her assistant Caylyn Pruitt, right, help Rubye Gehring make a cake pop in the i-CARE program how to make cake pops as part of her senior project at Richards Elementary School in Columbus, Ind., Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

Columbus North senior Morgan Allen has two passions — working with kids and baking up delicious goodies.

So, when it came time to choose a senior project, she decided to mix those two ingredients together.

This week, Allen has been leading a “Baking Buddies” camp for fourth through sixth grade students in the i-CARE program at Richards Elementary.

“I’m going to teach them how to make yummy treats and how to decorate them, and how to hopefully find something that they love and a new career that they love, if they choose that, or just find a new hobby,” she said. Allen hopes to be an elementary teacher one day.

Her project also ties into Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. She is the president of North’s FCCLA club and is doing her baking camp as a competitive Students Taking Action Recognition (STAR) event.

FCCLA defines STAR as events in which members compete at the regional, state and national level and are “recognized for proficiency and achievement in chapter and individual projects, leadership skills, and career preparation.” Students identify an issue facing families, careers or communities and enact a project to “advocate for positive change.”

Allen is specifically doing a “Focus on Children” STAR event, which is described as an endeavor where participants use family and consumer sciences skills to organize and implement a “child development project that has a positive impact on children and the community.”

“I take it to the state competition for FCCLA in March,” she said, “and then I’ll present it to a panel of judges there. And they will either give me participation, bronze, silver or gold. And then I will go, hopefully, to national qualifications.”

She qualified a couple of years ago for a previous event and hopes to do so again.

She’s also glad to be sharing a subject she loves with youngsters.

“I’m excited to work with these kids,” she said. “And I’ve already met most of them. … I absolutely love them. Their energy is awesome, and they seem to love baking and love to get something with their hands.”

Of course, when Morgan asked the students whether they liked baking or eating better, it may have been a tough choice for some kiddos.

“They’re both fun, I agree,” she told them.