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The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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New Baking & Pastry course to come next year

Scooping up filling to put into squares of dough, junior Riannah Soliman participates in the dumpling-making day of the International and Regional Foods course at Palo Alto High School. Starting in Fall 2024, the Home Economics course series will also include a semester-long baking and pastry course. According to Home Economics teacher Theresa McDermott, the course will teach a unique variety of skills. “Baking is an art as well as a science and overall just a very creative process,” McDermott said. “Students come in at all different levels, so it’s important to see where the sweet spot is for everyone to be able to move forward.” (Photo: Alex Chang)

Prepare your aprons and roll up your sleeves! Students are anticipating a new wave of culinary creativity to come with the addition of a baking and pastry course scheduled to launch next year at Palo Alto High School.

Building off skills taught in the existing semester-long Introduction to Culinary Arts and International and Regional Foods courses, the Baking & Pastry course will be another semester-long Career Technical Education course taught by Home Economics teacher Theresa McDermott. 

McDermott said that the course will be valuable for students to learn the combination of both baking-related technical skills and general life skills.

“This course provides students not only with a hands-on culinary experience but also equips them with valuable life skills,” McDermott said. “Baking and pastry techniques are enjoyable to learn and translate into practical, everyday knowledge that students can carry with them into their lives.”

According to McDermott, the course is being added as a part of a district-wide push for more CTE pathways. The sentiment also reflects a general expansion within the district’s robust culinary arts program, with Henry M. Gunn High School having recently remodeled to include a new industrial-standard kitchen on campus.

“The course was one of those things where it starts as an idea floating out there, waiting for an opportunity to present, which came in our district’s big push for CTE pathways,” McDermott said.  “So, we’re looking at that and but we’re also looking at demand. Gunn actually opened up a brand-new industrial kitchen this past spring, so the course there is going to be next-level.”

Since the implementation of new courses relies heavily upon student interest and signups, McDermott said students who desire to spend more time on baking also contributed to the formation of the course.

“There’s been a lot of interest,” McDermott said. “A lot of students do express a desire to focus on baking since it’s such a fun class. It’s currently incorporated into our classes, but this class will exclusively focus on it.”

According to senior Alexa Pineda, who took the Culinary Arts course in her sophomore year, the upcoming Baking & Pastry class would be valuable for those interested in diving deeper into baking specifics.

“It was really fun to make different foods from different parts of the world in Culinary Arts]and just learn how to cook,” Pineda said. “I would take it if I wasn’t a senior because it sounds really fun to be able to focus on baking since we mainly cooked in the other class.”

Having also previously taken the Introduction to Culinary Arts course, sophomore Connor Lee said the premise of the course was intriguing.

“It teaches you many useful life skills because now I hopefully won’t starve when I go to college,” Lee said. “If I had the time, I would definitely take the course.”

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About the Contributors
Alex Chang, Reporter
Alex Chang (Class of 2026) joined The Voice his sophomore year and enjoys playing tennis, meeting new people and reading.
Sophia Yang, Editor-In-Chief
Sophia Yang (Class of 2024) joined The Voice her sophomore year and enjoys running, hiking, and spending long afternoons reading.

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