CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Baking students at Cheyenne’s Triumph High are already gearing up for their annual holiday gift-giving.

Each year, Michelle Aldrich’s second-quarter professional baking students learn to make cookies, pies and cinnamon rolls that they sell to the community.

They use some of the proceeds to buy presents for residents at Cheyenne HealthCare Center, a local long-term care center.

Aldrich uses the rest to send students to baking and culinary competitions later in the year.

“A lot of our kids have been on the receiving end of Toys for Tots and free Christmas gifts through The Salvation Army and things, so this is their opportunity to be on the giving side,” she said.

“It helps them to retain dignity and self-respect, and it boosts their confidence when they can see that they’re helping other people.”

Sophomore Donald Svare said these activities and the staff members make Triumph a great school.

“Triumph has helped me so much, I feel like doing something as little as participating will help out. Kind of as a thank you,” Svare said.

He is taking the class a second time because he enjoyed it so much the first time.

“One of the things I enjoy about culinary arts is just the art of cooking,” he said. “It’s enjoying serving the public — making food specifically to serve the public.”

He could have the opportunity to further his skills by joining some of his fellow students at the ProStart Culinary competition next year. Entrance and travel to that competition is funded through the current bake sale.

“The baking teams, which these students would be participating in — they make a loaf of white bread, a loaf of artisan bread, and they decorate a cake to a theme,” Aldrich said.

She said she takes two baking teams and a culinary team each year. Students must take a baking or culinary class to qualify and have to try out for the teams.

“We have local caterers or chefs come in and judge the students, and that’s how the teams are selected,” she said.

Aldrich said the students will start baking the bake sale items around the end of next week to ensure they are fresh for the Thanksgiving orders. Those orders have to be in today. Christmas orders are due by Dec. 8.

“The cinnamon rolls we actually do the week we deliver them. Usually, we bake them the day we deliver them. A lot of times, we’re delivering them while they’re still warm,” she said.

Last Thursday, the students in her afternoon baking class were tackling different stages of gingerbread houses.

Svare put the roof on his house and helped another student use cans to stabilize her walls while the frosting dried. Other students were decorating theirs with frosting, sprinkles, pretzels, etc.

Brianna Wilson and RiAnna Steele-Trofholz, both sophomores, used small pretzel sticks to turn their gingerbread house into a log cabin. The frosting they used to stick the pretzels to the house looked like snow settling on the home’s logs.

Wilson said the roof would be made of chocolate with some snow added to it.

She enjoyed decorating the gingerbread house, but she said she looked forward to starting on the cinnamon rolls and pies.

Steele-Trofholz said she took the class because her brother took one of Aldrich’s classes and enjoyed it. She said she’s happy to take a class that will be useful in real life.

Sophomores Tyler Gladd and Kage Hittner built a floor for their house using large pretzel sticks.

Hittner suggested making the floor to go along with an idea they had for a tree in front of the house. He told Gladd that he thought the sticks would provide plenty of support for the house.

They struggled through broken frosting bags and frosting that wouldn’t spread, but they eventually had a full pretzel floor.

Gladd said he took the class because he thought it sounded fun. “I wanted a new experience. You can’t have all boring classes. You’ve got to have a fun class,” he said.

He enjoyed the gingerbread house because it’s art with food, he said.

Gladd added that he’s happy to participate in the bake sale fundraiser.

“Whatever helps people — I’ll do it,” he said.

Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle,

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