SYCAMORE - A perfect score and a donation to a local agency were icing on the cupcake.
Joanna Cook, a junior at Mohawk High School, carried out Cupcakes for Cancer, a first-semester project for her Economics for the Twenty-first Century course that involved her making and selling 200 cupcakes and donating the proceeds to Community Hospice Care in Tiffin.
Cook said she made 24 cupcakes once a week for slightly more than two months. She took the cupcakes to school in the morning, and anyone in the school could stop by the economics classroom to buy them. She said her s'more and cookies and cream cupcakes sold out before first period ended.
PHOTOS COURTESY JOANNA COOK
Joanna Cook, a Mohawk High School junior, is pictured with some of her coconut cupcakes.
"Each cupcake sold for a dollar, and my goal was $200. ... I was happy with (the outcome)," she said.
Cook selected Community Hospice Care as the recipient of the proceeds because it had helped her grandfather, who died Nov. 13.
"They were grateful for it," she said.
Rebecca Shank, a registered nurse and executive director of Community Hospice Care, said officials were pleased and surprised because they didn't know about the project until it was completed. The $200 will help patients who do not have insurance or other forms of reimbursement, she said.
"She was a very nice girl, very sweet girl," she said.
Henry Stobbs, who teaches economics, American history and political science at Mohawk, said every little bit helps Hospice. A lot of times, he said, fundraising is not effective because people in the middle take a share of the money before it gets to do any good.
"(Hospice) delivers money directly to the people who are going to use it. ... There's no middle man involved," he said.
For the first-semester project, Cook had to analyze the cost of making cupcakes, determine how much she could charge and still have people buy them, and set a fundraising goal.
"She cares about people. ... She's a very kind-hearted young lady," Stobbs said.
Stobbs said most students write a quick paper and do a price analysis, but Cook decided to go "all in" and worked on the project for three months. She was Stobbs' first student to select the philanthropy option and the first student to receive a perfect score on the first-semester project, and he said he plans to use her an example next year for what students can do.
Most students, he said, take the easy way out.
"She didn't do that," he said. "She took a much more challenging path to success."
Cook has been making cupcakes since about eighth grade. She said thinks she would take them along to her grandparents' home for a snack when she and her cousins visited their pool. She made about 200 cupcakes for her sister's graduation party and takes orders for cupcakes, usually from family and friends.
Cook has eight cupcake recipes - coconut, coffee, lemon meringue pie, lemon poppyseed, pecan praline, red velvet, s'more and snickerdoodle - that she uses regularly. She said to determine which recipes she is going to use, she usually tries one out and uses it if she likes how the cupcakes turn out.
"I've had (recipes from) ... books and magazines and some off the Internet and all different places," she said.
Cook said her two favorite cupcakes to make are pecan praline and coffee.
The pecan praline is a chocolate cupcake with a ganache topping. The cupcake, she said, is not frosted.
"It's like a candy topping," she said.
Her coffee cupcake has butter cream frosting, which Cook whips for a long time so it gets light and fluffy.
"I like the cake on that one ... because it's really moist," she said.
Cook said she wants to go to college and get a business degree and hopefully will open a bakery. Stobbs said she knows what she wants to do in her life and has a plan for getting there.
"She's an excellent student," he said. "She's academically focused, and I predict that she's going to have a very successful life."