The Cookie Room

For many people at Wauwatosa West, the afternoon isn’t just about classes — it can also involved a freshly baked cookie. For many it involves a stop in room 220, the “Cookie Room.”


Since 2006, students enrolled in the fourth and fifth hour “Choices” class have been baking and selling cookies before and after fifth period lunch.  Students use tubs of pre-made cookie dough and two small toaster ovens.  Each cookie costs fifty cents.

“I’m very thankful that we’re allowed to sell them up here, and I hope we can keep doing that,” said Choices teacher Pam Tajnai. “We think it’s a good thing; our whole department benefits, the kids benefit, and I think it’s been a positive thing all the way around and I hope to keep continuing it.”

Choices students earn three dollars every day they work, but many of these students see benefits beyond the pay.  According to Choices student and West senior Eli Janos, “It’s relaxing, I get a little bit of money on the side, and just kind of talk to people. Chill out while you’re making some cookies.”

Not all the money goes into paying the students who work the cookie shift hour.  Money is used to cover all costs.  Any profit is saved and returned in some way to the students.

“We’ve used the money for lots of things,” said Tajnai, who says all the money “goes straight back to the kids; we keep nothing here.”

It is unclear the total amount of profit brought in each year as its always being used and distributed to students.

“It’s so hard to tell. We always try to tell this but what happens is that we never wind up keeping the profit because we always use it for something,” said Tajnai. “Like last year we had something left over and we helped a student buy their cap and gown.”

West Senior Alex Kleinke, a former cookie seller who stops in room 220 occasionally to buy cookies, said while he was still working for the cookie sale he used to “love making people happy and the cookie sale was a great way of doing so.”

Despite the passing period during 5th hour lunch being a long 8 minutes, there is still a rush to get in line and purchase cookies.

Teaching staff are encouraged to stop in for a cookie and are never asked to pay.  Social Studies teacher Mary Johnston says the cookies are hard to resist but manages to limit her visits to once a month.  “I do like them,” says Johnston. “I think they are tasty and delicious and sometimes I call them crack cookies because they’re like crack cocaine because you can’t stop eating them.”

She also appreciates the process of using the cookie sales as a learning experience.  “I think it’s good for the student body. I think kids like it and its giving money to a class where they use it,” Johnston said.

Many people who buy cookies think it is just a simple cookie sale and don’t know the deeper purpose.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Kleinke.  “It keeps people happy and it’s something to look forward to while you’re in school.”