Thunder Mountain students show off their literary knowledge, with a cake

Thunder Mountain High School student Abigail Sparks poses with the cake she baked for her final project. Its creation was part of the school’s Great Literature Bake-Off on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (Photo by Bridget Dowd/KTOO)


From cake-pop pig heads to edible dinosaur cakes, the Thunder Mountain High School library was sweeter than usual on Tuesday. AP Literature students presented their final projects as part of the Great Literature Bake-Off.

Thunder Mountain teacher Corrine Marks asked her students to choose a novel they had read in high school and represent one of its scenes, themes or symbols – with a cake.

“[The class is] all seniors, and this is their last semester,” Marks said. “So you know, let’s have a little fun and celebrate with a cake.”

A group of students used cake pops to represent pig heads on stakes from “Lord of the Flies.” (Photo by Bridget Dowd/KTOO)

The students made models of their cakes explaining their meaning. Afterwards, the cakes were judged by district staff members.

“It was fun to watch their process and their ideas and some of the crazy creativity that came out of that,” Marks said.

The pighead group chose “Lord of the Flies”. Another group used maple syrup to mimic the poison from “Romeo and Juliet.”

There were four awards: Student Choice, Best Use of Materials, Best in Show and Best Representation of Literature. The winning students received gift cards from local businesses.

Abigail Sparks won the Student Choice category. She created a T-Rex out of cake and added something extra.

“I’ve always been obsessed with Jurassic Park, both the movies and the books and the overall science behind it,” Sparks said. “I ended up making a peach and mango Jell-O bowl with a mosquito in it to represent amber, where all the things in Jurassic Park come from.”

For her final project, Thunder Mountain High School student Abigail Sparks made a T-Rex cake topper to represent Jurassic Park.
For her final project, Thunder Mountain High School student Abigail Sparks made a T-Rex cake topper to represent Jurassic Park. (Photo by Bridget Dowd/KTOO)

In the story, scientists mine amber to find blood-sucking insects trapped inside, then clone dinosaurs from the blood stored in mosquitoes.

Sparks said she wouldn’t call herself a baker, but she loves watching the Great British Bake Off.

“It’s like pre-made boxed cake mix and pre-made frosting,” she said. “I did the modeling chocolate from scratch, which was difficult, but the fondant and the icing and all that was just me mixing colors and calling it a day.”

It took him about 10 hours over several days to complete the project.

Once the judgment was over, the class ate their projects.

Sparks will attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the fall to study geology and paleontology. Eventually she hopes to work with fossils in a museum or do research in the field.

For Sparks and the other students in her class, more than half of their high school careers have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was a strange experience,” she said. “I guess I expected more from my high school career. It’s nice to have a semi-normal senior year, to be able to wrap it all up and move on to the next chapter.

Graduation for Thunder Mountain students will be Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 7 p.m. The opening ceremony of Juneau Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé Secondary School will take place the same day at 4 p.m.

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