Savvy seniors utilize quaran-time to secure new skills

Ron Toback-Wolf

With this whole pandemic thing going on, everyone’s been suffering. People were locked up in their homes, whether they liked it or not, and had limitless time with limited money. Jobs were scarce, meaning that people had to find different ways to make money. Some seniors at Bryan High took this opportunity to get creative and found ways to make money and be productive on their own. 

With surplus time on her hands, Jaci Siegert put her efforts into baking. And because she needed dough, she kneaded dough.

“I have always liked to bake,” Jaci said, “and I had so much free time so I thought I would try to get better at it. Plus I was always hungry and got to eat the leftover cookies.”

Siegert made a profit from selling her baked goods, earning over $1500. This money went toward an iPad Pro, which she now uses for school as a hybrid student.

“My favorite cookie design was my Mother’s Day cookies,” Jaci said. “Because I got new floral tips for the icing, though, it would take me about three hours to make a dozen of them. The details were very time consuming.”

Though she knew how to bake prior to quarantine, Jaci worked hard, and learned quite a bit about baking and selling treats.

“The most difficult part of baking was managing my time,” Jaci said. “I had to plan my day around orders and make sure I gave myself enough time to prepare. I also learned how to deal with people in a more professional way by talking to customers and making deliveries.”

Jaci loves to bake, and sees it as a worthwhile hobby that anyone can take up.

“Baking cookies is difficult,” Jaci said, “but it’s also rewarding. A word of caution to anyone who is thinking about getting into baking though: don’t eat too many cookies, you will get sick.”

Although some ingredients were difficult to find during quarantine, Jaci enjoyed her time baking and plans to continue baking during the holidays, but with school back in session her free-time is limited which prevents her from doing as much as before.

“I enjoy giving baked goods to other people because they get so excited,” Jaci said. “The money isn’t bad either.” 

Senior Reagan Swartzlander also worked to use her time in a beneficial way by learning to garden.

“I enjoy harvesting the food at the end,” Reagan said. “I like growing bell peppers because they have been the most successful plant. Zucchinis always grew tiny and not big enough to eat.” 

Reagan soon learned that gardening is no bed of roses, and gained knowledge that would prove very useful for her time in the garden.

“During the summer, it got very hot and my plants started to die,” Reagan said, “no matter how much I watered them. Next time I plant, I want to start with less plants because I started with too many, and they overgrew and died off.”

Senior Emma Eckert used her time in quarantine to pick up embroidery, a skill she found a lot of benefit in.

“I saw a lot of embroidery on TikTok and thought it was cute,” Emma said, “so I got stuff to start practicing. I like to do crafts, but I don’t think I’m very good.”

Emma uses embroidery as a way to relax and make gifts for people. 

“Embroidery is relaxing and peaceful,” Emma said. “It makes me happy because I’m able to bring happiness to other people.”

Emma draws her own plans and usually does lettering, without a store-bought pattern.

“I really like the present I made for my mom,” Emma said. “It was a number one mother/lawyer thing. I also made Mrs. Debellis a present since the color guard show was cancelled, and I wanted to do something for her.”

Although these hobbies might not blossom into true careers, the skills and satisfaction they bring will continue to have an impact on all three girls.

“You don’t have to be good at something to enjoy doing it,” Emma said. “People should start practicing and having fun with things they are interested in.”