A Lesson in Baking, Math and Altruism


The sweet smell of fresh gingerbread cookie dough filled the hallways of our Senior School this week, as Grade 2 students rolled up their sleeves for an amazing cause. Their little hands, brandishing rolling pins and star-shaped cookie cutters, spent hours rolling and cutting the dough in an effort to raise money for women in need in downtown Victoria.

Grade 2 teacher Nina Duffus says the cookies have been an annual Christmas tradition at SMUS for 16 years, when she began working at SMUS. The students prepare all the cookies themselves; they measure out ingredients for the dough, roll it out, cut the cookies, decorate them with icing and a Smartie, count and bag the treats, and sell them throughout the SMUS community.

“It’s a math-slash-business project as much as it is a service project. It touches on mathematics (measuring, counting, graphing), language arts and that social good piece,” Nina says. She also bakes a few dozen gluten-free gingerbread cookies, so members of the SMUS community with dietary restrictions are able to support the students’ endeavours and enjoy the tasty holiday goodies!

The Grade 2 classes raised $2,910 this year, selling out all 1,746 of their cookies.

Instead of simply donating the money to a local charity, Nina and fellow Grade 2 teacher Pam Yorath have their classes spend the money on purchasing goods that make the holiday season brighter for those less fortunate.

“I don’t want kids thinking you can always just throw money at a cause to find a solution to a problem. I’ve always looked at sweat equity instead,” Nina says.

Next week the students will head to Fairway Market to shop for food to build hampers that will be donated to clients of Sandy Merriman House. The students learn about perishable versus non-perishable food, as well as how to shop for healthy foods.

Thanks to the staff at Brown Hall for their support in the kitchen, the many Grade 2 parents who helped along the way, and Fairway Market for its continued support of our annual gingerbread cookie fundraiser.

See more photos of the Grade 2 students rolling dough, and baking and decorating gingerbread cookies at the SMUS Photo Gallery.

(photos by Gordon Chan and Kyle Slavin)


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