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Bake Sale Serves Up Treats And Work Experience

OSWEGO, NY – Several (bakers’) dozen of Oswego High School students ventured into the business world Thursday.

The award-winning OHS Bake Sale Competition was held during the open house from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.

As the students in Ben Richardson’s economics classes prepared for the event, members of the business community were recruited to act as consultants.

Not only is Richardson the students’ teacher, he is also chairman of OHS Inc., the corporation they created to run the bake sale business.

The entire class was involved in the project, approximately 160 students.

OHS, Inc. is set up like a real corporation.

Some hungry customers check out the treats at one of the bake sale tables Thursday. Students also used mobile carts to take their goodies around the school for increased sales.
Some hungry customers check out the treats at one of the bake sale tables Thursday. Students also used mobile carts to take their goodies around the school for increased sales.

Richardson is chairman of the board. Below him are the CEO and the president. A vice president is in charge of each of the periods of the class. The vice presidents report to the president who in turn reports to the CEO.

The consultants gave the teams a real life perspective to the experience, their teacher said.

This year, Simply Sweet Kids Boutique with Realty by Design, Paul’s Big M, Oswego Tea Company, Avendel Bath & Body, Stability Fitness and Oswego VFW Ladies Auxiliary 5885 volunteered their time as consultants for the bake sale teams.

The consultants were:

  • Lisa Shaw (Oswego Tea Co.)
  • Todd Moore (Big M)
  • Chrissy Mason (Stability Fitness)
  • Danielle Pederson (Simply Sweet Kids Boutique) and Don Belcastro (Realty by Design)
  • Chris Fitzgerald (Ladies Auxiliary VFW Post 5885)
  • Kim Wescott (Avendel Bath & Body)

“This is great example of business and schools working together to make education happen for our youth,” Richardson explained.

The goal of the project is for each of the groups to run a bake sale like a business during the high school’s open house. With the help of volunteer business coaches, these teams have to formulate a marketing plan, create a budget and make decisions regarding how these bake sales will make the most profit.

Some of the economic concepts they have to implement are supply, demand, costs, revenues, profits, marketing, labor issues, government regulations, location, market analysis and product differentiation.

The OHS Inc. students are in the class for the full year.

That means they get to try the competition twice, once in the fall and once in the spring.

The lessons they learn in the fall can be applied towards the spring competition.

The consultants worked with the students over a period of six days to prepare for the event.

“The consultants not only bring business experience but knowledge of the specific bake sale market,” Richardson said. “It promises to be a very competitive year.”

“The kids are all ready to go. They’ve put a lot of effort into this project and I think they will do very well,” Moore said. “It will be tough. There is a lot of competition.”

One of the big attractions at their table, besides the baked goods and coffee, were a couple of large baskets filled with goodies.

“What it is, is different items donated by a lot of different businesses in and around Oswego. There are gift cards and other things in there. We are holding a drawing for them. Each one is valued at over $200,” Moore said.

The drawing was scheduled for the end of the event.

Hayley Lukaczyk, the marketing director for OHS Inc., said the students have learned from participating in bake sales last semester.

“I think it’s going great,” she said.

The consultants were a great resource and help to the students, she said.

Shaw was the consultant for her group.

“She had so much to offer. Any time we said we needed something she said, Yup, I can get that for you.’ We really appreciate all the consultants taking time to help with the bake sale,” Lukaczyk said.

Rebecca Smith used the success of the last bake sale to build on for Thursday.

“We basically took what sold well last time and made more of that,” she explained. “The cinnamon rolls and half-moons are our biggest sellers right now.”

Todd Moore, right, of the Oswego Big M helps his group of students get set up prior to the start of the open house at OHS.
Todd Moore, right, of the Oswego Big M helps his group of students get set up prior to the start of the open house at OHS.

“The kids are doing great, selling their product, they feel real confident about where they are,” Wescott said. “They worked really hard on their packaging. Last time they didn’t have any packaging. Now, everything’s wrapped, everything’s labeled. The ingredients are on the labels.”

The CEO of OHS Inc., Cody Crouse, said he would try and not be bias in favor of his fourth period class, “But with the setup we have and the professional look of it, I’d say we have the best chance of being the top group.”

However, all of the groups did a good job this time with their tables and products, “so, you can never be sure. The competition is tough. You just have to offer the best you have,” he added.

The students receive a grade from the paper they write after the bake sale competition.

“The event provides content for the paper. Even a student that has a terrible bake sale can still get an ‘A’ since the grade is based on the quality of his or her analysis of what happened,” Richardson explained. “The student wins no matter how their micro-business does.”

This project is an example of what the educational community calls “authentic assessment” which involves assessing students’ understanding of what they have learned by making them apply the knowledge in real life situations, he added.

The winners were the students from third period lead by Oswego Tea Company.

Overall, all the groups raised more than $2,000.

Proceeds from the bake sale will go to the OHS Inc. school store and the Travel Club.

A few years ago, the OHS Bake Sale Competition won the Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education from the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge.