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The Lake News Online
  • EHS Cookie Company wins $10,000

  • Have you ever wondered what you would do if you won $10,000? Well, the Mustang Cookie Company at Eldon High School now has some decisions to make — $10,000 worth of decisions that is.
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  • Have you ever wondered what you would do if you won $10,000? Well, the Mustang Cookie Company at Eldon High School now has some decisions to make — $10,000 worth of decisions that is.
    After two Eldon High School students entered the company into the United Commercial Travelers of America Gives Back Again contest, the life skills students knew they had a chance at the coveted prize but never expected the outpour of support from their community.
    "I didn't believe it at first," teacher Elizabeth Clingman described her reaction to the news that she and her students had won. "I just started screaming and crying. My kids reaction was the best. It was awesome. There was a lot of hugging."
    Two media students filmed the life skills students baking cookies and featured the cookie company in a video. The video was submitted and was posted on the UCT Gives Back Again Facebook page. The video contest featured disability programs and special education in schools across the nation. According to official contest rules, the videos must "explain how a donation will help your school intellectual disability program or special education teacher training program."
    Throughout the voting period, Clingman and her students reminded other students, school staff and the community to vote by posting to social media and visiting community members.
    For Clingman, this experience has truly been a team effort.
    "I'm just very proud of everyone. It has been a great thing," she said. "I want to say a giant thank you to everyone who supported us, voted, shared the page. It has been an overwhelming experience knowing how big our support system is."
    Now that receiving the prize money is a reality, Clingman and her students have brainstormed how they plan on spending it.
    "First and foremost, we have to get the stuff the kids want. So we will get some bean bag chairs, another iPad and some more educational games," Clingman said. "I just to make sure they realize it is their money and they get the things they want."
    She also added that she plans on looking into getting a washer and dryer for the classroom so that the students can work on the life skill of doing laundry and folding it. Other items on her and the class' wish list are new cabinets, a three-hole sink and a blender.
    The students will be awarded their first place prize during an assembly in April.
    About the Mustang Cookie Company
    Cooking, cleaning and washing and folding clothes are activities that many take for granted. For students in Elizabeth Clingman's Life Skills class at Eldon High School, those type of simple tasks are ones they practice daily.
    Page 2 of 2 - "When they get into my class, we work strictly on getting them into something post-secondary. Most kids graduate high school and go to college. My kids, we are working on getting them out and living on their own," Clingman said. "We do cooking. We learn how to do laundry. We learn how to clean. We learn how to cut. We learn how to write. Little things that most people take for granted, we do them in here. Everything we do in here is getting them to the point where they can live by themselves and do things independently."
    One prime example of teaching the students essential life skills is featured in what the students call the "Mustang Cookie Company." It all started five years ago in a different school building. Clingman's Life Skills class took it over and decided it was a great way to bring funds into the classroom. She never would have thought that it would grow into the bustling project it is today.
    The cookie company teaches students how to bake, measure ingredients, communicate with others, explain themselves and count money.
    "We just needed something to help them learn the little things," Clingman said.
    In order to sell baked goods, it takes the class about a week and a half to prepare. Every Friday, the company meets to plan its next sell date, which usually happens every two weeks. Then they take suggestions for cookie type and vote on which to make. The following week, students make typed and hand-written flyers to advertise their product. Teachers in the district are notified via email that cookies will be sold that week. Then, the baking begins. After getting all the ingredients from either the cafeteria or local super market, students begin making anywhere from 18 to 23 dozen cookies. On the sell date, students package the cookies and deliver throughout the district. When delivering cookies, students must make change and thank the buyer for their support. Students also make thank you notes to give back to teachers for buying their baked goods.
    "I learn life skills, also working and listening," freshman Xavier McJunkins said.
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