CRESTVIEW — Richbourg Exceptional Student Education School student Jovontae Griffin squeezed the last bit of icing from a pastry bag and managed to complete Santa's rosy complexion.
"That was close!" he said with a big grin.
Jovontae and his partner, Shyanne Stuckey, were two of eight students in teacher Shirley Godbold's afternoon culinary arts class who, working in teams of two, made square cakes and decorated them with Christmas motifs.
Students followed recipes to mix the batter and icing, bake the cakes, ice them and then decorate them, Godbold said.
"The cakes, the icing, everything's from scratch," Godbold said. "We don't do anything that's out of a box. Everything's from scratch. That way they learn the process."
Her morning and afternoon culinary classes, comprising mostly high school-age students, have produced a wide range of food, including homemade tortillas, pizzas, coffee cakes and muffins.
Students sometimes face a challenge, which Godbold helps them overcome. For example, eighth-grader Jordan Gardner is diabetic, so his cake is sugar-free. To top it off and decorate it, Jordan and Godbold experimented with a cream cheese icing sweetened with saccharine.
Because it was thicker than the butter cream icing that other students used, mixing in the food color took some elbow grease, but Jordan was up to the challenge.
"It's hard to stir but it's getting there," he said as he worked the mixture into a bright green icing for his cake's wreath design.
Richbourg teachers Karen Lusk, Cindy Brunson and Diane Caton, who judged the finished cakes, awarded Alexy Trott and Cierra Leduc first prize for their elf-decorated cake.
Jesse Dobbs placed second for his ornaments design, Haley Stanton and Kaitlyn Potts placed third for their Christmas gifts, and Allysa Whitehead received honorable mention for her wreath with a pink bow.
The culinary students then shared their cakes with other Richbourg students.