Struthers students make, bake, ship cookies to soldiers overseas for holidays

By Denise Dick


Students in Dyana Davanzo’s life-skills class at Struthers Middle School spent the past week thinking about military personnel who wouldn’t be home for the holidays.

To give those troops a bit of home, the seventh- and eighth-graders baked 63 dozen cookies to send to members of the 910th Airlift Wing based in Vienna and serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Baking and packaging wrapped up Friday. The treats must be mailed by Dec. 1 to get to the troops for Christmas.

“Troops in the military do so much good for us, it’s nice for us to be able to do something good for them,” said eighth-grader Jared Fonner, 14.

Kate Fuschillo, 13, also in eighth grade, hopes the cookies bring a smile to the faces of the men and women who won’t be able to be with their families this holiday season.

Eighth-grader Amanda Heffron, 13, wants the class’s gift to make the holidays more enjoyable for members of the military who receive them.

Principal Pete Pirone said the idea came from Robert Zanni, the school district librarian who also is a staff master sergeant for the 773rd Airlift Squadron.

“I thought it was a great idea,” Pirone said.

The students baked 32 dozen peanut butter blossoms and 32 dozen chocolate chip cookies. The aroma filled the hallway outside the classroom of the life-skills course, formerly called home economics.

Cookie baking is a departure from what the students usually create in class.

“Usually we try to make things that are healthier,” Davanzo said.

But students got to sample the treats before boxing them.

The students followed the recipes, combining ingredients, scooping out the appropriate-size dollop onto a cookie tray and placing them in the oven.

“Who doesn’t like cookies at Christmas?” the principal said.

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