16:45 PM

Holiday community service

WCTC Baking and Pastry Management students donate to Habitat for Humanity’s Gingerbread Build

Gingerbread decorating group - other houses

Second-year Waukesha County Technical College Baking and Pastry Management students (elves!) are using the skills honed in their classes to help support Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County.

For the sixth year, students have baked and assembled 20 plain, undecorated gingerbread houses and donated them to Habitat for the annual Gingerbread Build competition and fundraiser.

The event is sponsored by Shorewest Realtors and MLG Capital, along with Thrivent.

Companies, individuals or organizations could then purchase pre-assembled, blank slate houses from Habitat (or make their own), decorate them and submit them to the contest.

A total of 34 decorated gingerbread houses – including 10 WCTC student entries -- will be on display at The Corners of Brookfield on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. In-person voting will take place on Dec. 12 at the Corners, along with online voting Dec. 12 and 13; cost is $1 per vote. The contest winner will be announced on social media Monday, Dec. 14, and will receive a $250 gift card to The Corners. All proceeds from voting tickets will be used in Waukesha County to help build affordable housing.

Michelle Gasparek, WCTC Baking and Pastry Management instructor, said the students look forward to participating in this and other community service projects each year; however, some projects had to be put on hold because of the pandemic.

“We were very grateful that we were able to participate in the annual Habitat for Humanity Gingerbread Build as all of our other service-learning projects were cancelled due to COVID-19,” she said. “The Gingerbread Build was a fun and wonderful way for our students to give back to our campus community as well as our local community -- especially now during these unprecedented times.”

As part of making the blank houses, Gasparek said it provides students the chance to practice technical skills and high-volume production, something they need to become successful in the field.

In addition, the WCTC students had a friendly competition of their own on campus where staff and students voted for their favorite houses, and proceeds from the voting tickets were donated to the College’s food pantry.

“The (on-campus) decorating contest was a huge success! Not only did our students get to showcase their skills and bring home bragging rights, but a whopping $460 was raised to benefit our Campus Cupboard,” Gasparek said, noting student Kim Cinar took first place in the WCTC contest.

UPDATE! Congratulations to WCTC student MaryRose Courchaine, whose house who took first place in the Habitat for Humanity Gingerbread Build contest! She created a barn-themed house (pictured above).

To learn more about WCTC’s Baking and Pastry Management programs, visit