On Wednesday, Pine Tree High School varsity running back Victor Butler went to war — a cupcake war, that is.
Butler was among 50 culinary arts students who whipped up batches of cupcakes to take to battle Wednesday as they ushered in a celebration for the start of Career and Technical Education Month.
“We’re learning so many things, and we will forever know how to do them,” Butler said. “Everybody has to know how to cook.”
February honors career and technical education in schools. The courses are aimed at ensuring students are ready for college and the workforce, said Pine Tree Career and Technical Education Coordinator Gail Dobbs. About 90 percent of the district’s high school students are enrolled in at least one career and technical education course, she said.
“Kids need to be trained and ready for the workforce,” she said.
The classes prepare students in everything from receiving a certification while still in high school to forming the basis of a future Ph.D, Dobbs said. Pine Tree High School has some students in its welding program who might become welders or continue in a welding program at Kilgore College, she said. They also have students interested in being a doctor who are taking an anatomy career and technical course, she said.
Dobbs is planning to meet with local business leaders in the coming days to find out what the needs are in today’s workforce so she can better prepare her students.
“We have to have an educated and skilled workforce,” she said. “Many of the Baby Boomers are getting ready to retire, and we need people who are prepared to take their places.”
To launch the month-long celebration, students in Ann Broyles’ culinary arts class held a cupcake battle. In the upcoming weeks, the rest of the high school’s students will have the chance to sample and decide on a salsa winner and take a fashion-related survey to determine their sense of clothing style.
In the culinary arts baking battle, 50 students were divided into 16 groups that each baked and decorated a dozen cupcakes from scratch.
The students researched recipes, watched decorating videos on the Internet and made trial runs baking their cupcakes and preparing their frosting, Broyles said.
“This was a wonderful learning opportunity for baking,” she said.
Teachers came to the library Wednesday afternoon to view the cupcakes and determine a winner.
Butler was hopeful his group’s Oreo cupcakes would win.
“I was in other electives last year, but I saw culinary arts and it looked really fun,” he said. “The people in here are fun, and we’ve learned so many different types of recipes.”
From slicing and dicing to mincing, Butler said students have received a taste of the different cooking and baking techniques — something he’ll be able to use forever.
“It’s more fun than I thought it would be,” he said. “I thought it would be more book work, but we are in the kitchen a lot. And, as long as you follow the recipe, it all turns out good.”