Article updated at 7:33 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17:
A doughnut with apple pie filling, topped with chunks of bacon and a chocolate drizzle? This dream is one that Laura Amlung’s third grade class at Deerfield Elementary is working to make a reality in the coming weeks with the help of Infusions Bakery.
Amlung’s 26 students each came up with a unique flavor — such as bacon apple pie, cinnamon pumpkin and “blue oasis,” a blueberry flavor — and wrote an opinion article pitching their doughnut to Lawrence bakeries. The 12 most popular student designs — as voted on by the public — will be sold as a variety pack in early March to benefit Deerfield Elementary, said Bradlea Padgett, founder of Infusions Bakery.
Amlung said her students “really took this assignment and just ran with it.”
“I was really impressed with the ideas they came up with,” she said. “And I think they wrote some pretty convincing opinion pieces, too.”
Though the assignment started out as simply a fun way to teach her students about writing persuasively, during a recent visit to a local bakery, she had an idea. As she got her own sweet treats, she thought about how great it would be for her students to be able to go to their favorite spots around town and buy their creations.
“I was like, ‘It would be so fun for these students to be able to see their own doughnuts actually made and sold.’ So when they were writing their opinion pieces, I really wanted them to be thinking, ‘What would be ways for you to sell your doughnut idea to a bakery?’”
Amlung described the “oohs and aahs” that filled her classroom.
“To see them so excited about an assignment really brought me joy. I’m so glad I could provide this opportunity for them so that they’re excited to come to school every day and they’re excited to show off their learning.”
And now, they will get the chance to show off and enjoy their creations along with the rest of their community.
On Monday, Padgett will post all of the students’ designs on Infusions Bakery’s Facebook page, and allow the public to vote on which 12 will be sold. Voting will last for four days. Then, Padgett will take the 12 with the most votes and sell them as a variety pack from Feb. 28 – March 4 to benefit Deerfield.
Padgett decided to get involved with the project in hopes of inspiring the students.
“I couldn’t help but think of how, if we would have done something like this when I was in school, then maybe I would have gotten into baking and found my niche a lot sooner in life,” she said. “So I think it gives us a really good opportunity to show younger kids that there is a whole career in baking and decorating. It really is a great artistic outlet.”
“And then on top of that, it’s just adorable to see the kids with their designs, and I thought it would be a really great project for them,” she continued.
Amlung said she enjoys assignments like this one and watching her students be creative because “those are the activities that they remember.”
“I have my state standards that I have to make sure that these students know by the end of third grade, but I want to do it in a way that’s going to be fun (and) meaningful,” she said. “… I hope they can look back on third grade and remember this assignment.”
Amlung, in her eighth year teaching and her second year at Deerfield, hopes to continue these creative assignments. She is already thinking ahead to a recycling project later this year.
“We’ve noticed, as a class, the amount of paper products and things like that, that are not being recycled, and we would really like to create something … for our school,” Amlung said. “A lot of my students have mentioned — they already have so much knowledge about the state of our oceans and the pollution, and they just want to do their part to make their school a better place.”
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Emma Bascom (she/her) reported for The Lawrence Times from December 2021 through May 2022. Read more of her work for the Times here.