Career Center cookies help fundraise for SkillsUSA competition


CACC goodies: Students travel to the Columbia Area Career Center to get a taste of the Otis Spunkmeyer cookies. Photo by Maddy Jones

Manal Salim

CACC goodies: Students travel to the Columbia Area Career Center to get a taste of the Otis Spunkmeyer cookies. Photo by Maddy Jones

It’s not Chips Ahoy. It’s not Famous Amos. It’s not Pepperidge Farm. It’s Otis Spunkenmeyer that drives students to make the 146-step trek across the north parking lot to the Career Center.

The cookies clog the hallways with their rich aroma every Thursday, arousing grumbles from the stomachs of hungry students. They were originally sold by the nursing students, but Computer-Aided Design teacher Bob Allee took over the cookie sales when he started at the CACC in 1998.

Varying each week, Allee offers options such as chocolate chip, s’mores, chocolate truffle, sugar, M&M and cranberry, bringing in regular customers.

Junior Max Crowley heard about the weekly cookies from his digital media class in the CACC last year. He remains a loyal customer this year and buys them if he has money.

“They’re really soft,” Crowley said. “There’s a lot of places you can buy cookies at this school, but those are the best.”

Senior Brad Meister is also a regular cookie customer. He buys four every Thursday: two chocolate chip and two s’mores.

“I have to get my cookies whenever they just come out of the oven because the cookies are the best whenever they are messy and warm,” Meister said. “Whenever I eat them, I always have to eat the s’mores cookies first and last because you’ve got to start and end with the best cookie.”

Meister never drinks anything afterward to wash down the gooey cookie remains in an attempt to prolong the taste, he said.

The money raised from the cookies goes toward financing boarding and travel fees for students competing in the SkillsUSA competition. SkillsUSA is a national competition that CACC students have the opportunity to compete in every year.

Senior Joseph Gu, a student in a CAD class at the CACC, plans on participating the SkillsUSA competition. Nearly every Thursday since the start of the year, Gu helped to sell cookies.

“It’s a good fundraiser,” Gu said. “It saves the members from paying expensive competition dues, and it works quite well.”

Every two weeks Allee orders a shipment of cookies from Otis Spunkmeyer, which he keeps in the freezer and bakes fresh every Thursday. Delivered from St. Louis, the cost of the cookies comes to slightly over $0.30 each to buy and cook them. The CACC, however, sells them for $0.50 each.

“We can make anywhere between $0.15 to $0.20 a cookie,” Allee said. “As long as we don’t burn them, drop them or people ‘borrow’ them.”

SkillsUSA members are the main bakers behind these gooey chef-d’oeuvres, occasionally aided by students who are not competing. These students also run the sales, taking turns and switching off every two to three weeks. Though the CAD classes talked to other CACC classes about partnering, none seem interested in helping with cookie sales. It’s left up to Allee and the CAD students.

“I think [having students work the cookie sale] is more of an advertisement,” Allee said. Because the CACC cookies are not advertised in any other way, Allee relies on his students to spread the news. “It also allows our students to deal with customer service and communication skills.”

Though sales have been slow so far this year, Allee is confident that they will pick up once more students find out about the cookies.

“Ours are hot and fresh every day,” Allee said. “Everybody says they’re the same cookies they use at Subway, but I don’t believe that. [Subway’s cookies] don’t taste nearly as good.”
By Trisha Chaudhary