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Musings on the Benefits of Bake Sales

Last week we had our first Student Council Bake Sale of the year. We usually have three bake sales a year – one per trimester. This year we’ve added a fourth because there is always a cause that comes up at some point in the year that Student Council wants to support, but that hasn’t been planned, usually helping survivors of a natural disaster. The other three raise funds for Student Council activities and supplies (book prizes for the pumpkin contest, hot chocolate on pajama day, beading supplies for the Asante Africa fundraiser, etc.), and each upper elementary grade takes a turn being the bakers.

But enough with the details. What struck me this past week was that we had wonderful turn-out and the students were so enthusiastic and full of pride about the entire event. The 3rd graders were the class to bring baked goods this time (4th and 5th will have their turns later in the year). The amount of home-baked goods was so inspiring. Clearly, these had been labors of love, and projects in which the students had been very involved. The students were so excited to share their goods as well as to tell about how they were made, what the ingredients were, and to determine how much each item was worth. The 3rd graders really felt like they were participating in a meaningful way, and were excitedly sharing how much they had learned with me, without even knowing it.

Another inspiration is seeing the younger students work to manage their knowledge of coins and money, and seeing them put the skills they are learning in math into action in life. 3rd graders acted as coaches, and 2nd graders helped some 1st graders as they grappled with how many cookies decorated with “INTL*” they could buy for a dollar, and if they had two dollars, could they also get a piece of apple cake? Honesty and patience abound in these moments, and everyone jumped into help. Student Council representatives managed the tables responsibly, and it was an enjoyable event for all.

While some might see bake sales as too much sugar and yet another demand for money, I have come to believe that these events help the students learn important real-world skills, put their knowledge to action, and give them a sense of being participants in the world. I love being a part of it just to listen to the students. Plus, this community bakes some truly delicious treats!

 *In 2020, the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP) formally changed its name to Silicon Valley International School (INTL) to better reflect its bilingual programs, location, and international values.

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