GE Kindergarten class at Commerce Bank

Strong community partnerships benefit students in our district every day. In December, these partnerships mixed perfectly with a variety of ingredients to create a unique opportunity for Grandview’s kindergarten classes. 

It all began with United Way providing a book “Just Saving My Money” by Mercer Mayer to Grandview’s kindergarten students. This donation occurred during the same timeframe that those classes were practicing for their annual “The Gingerbread Man” performance. Meanwhile, the Wichita Children’s Theater scheduled their own performance of “The Gingerbread Man” at Crown Uptown in Wichita.  

Kindergarten teachers Holly Bright and Tonya Cogan decided it would be enriching for the students to see the Wichita Children’s Theater perform the play their students had worked so hard to learn. The only catch was they had to come up with the money for transportation.  

Inspired by Little Critter’s financial advice, the teachers helped their students develop and execute a plan to raise the $40 they needed to go see the play in Wichita.  

First, they used classroom math manipulatives to figure out how many cookies they would need to sell to raise the money if each cookie cost 25 cents. After determining they would need to sell at least 160 cookies, they looked at the cookie recipes they wanted to use. Students read the selected recipes and used math skills to create a list of ingredients and quantities they would need to buy for their project. After checking their tables and pockets, they realized they did not have any money to buy those ingredients. The students needed a loan.

This is where Mark Utech and Commerce Bank enter the story. After learning about how loans work, the students decided to ask for a $10 loan to buy what they would need to make the cookies. Each student brough one special item from home to put up as collateral. It was labeled with their name and placed in a big box. Kindergarten students were able to visit the bank to learn more about banking, sign the loan paperwork, and watch their collateral get placed in the vault. One student used a toy cow for collateral.  

“He was really worried it wasn’t going to get fed inside that vault,” Cogan said. 

The teachers brought the ingredients to school, where the students measured, mixed, and trayed the cookies. After they were baked and cooled, the students packaged each cookie into its own bag and made thank-you notes to hand out as customers purchased the cookies.  

When the cookie sale day arrived, students lined up behind the table. They worked on skills such as customer service, safe food handling, expressing gratitude, and seeing hard work pay off. Some handed out the cookies, some handed out the thank-you notes, and others accepted the payments and gave change. They sold out the first day and had to make more because they had so many people still requesting cookies. They sold out the second day and were happy to see that they had raised not only enough to repay the bank, but to pay for the transportation to the play. 

Students were reunited with their collateral, performed a stellar “The Gingerbread Man” play for their school, and celebrated by enjoying the performance by the Wichita Children’s Theater at Crown Uptown. 

Special thanks to United Way for the book donation and Commerce Bank for their generosity.