What do you get when you combine a group of determined students with an inspiring leader, chocolate chip cookies and plenty of enthusiasm to raise money for good causes? A new club at St. Mary’s Catholic School named Cooking for a Cause, founded by junior Mason McCart with the assistance of his high school classmates.
When school resumed in September after the Covid shutdown and Hurricane Laura, Mason felt a desire to do something to help the community. “I had a difficult time during the quarantine,” says Mason, “I wanted to use my privilege to try to help others and my community. So, I prayed about it and this is where God led me.”
Mason likes to cook, and students love sweet treats so the idea of selling cookies and baked treats, while donating the profits to a needed cause, appealed to him. He knew St. Mary’s was a natural avenue to pursue his new passion so he approached Tracie Key and former principal, Andrea Harrell, about his idea and they both enthusiastically approved. Key, who is the Director of Religious Education and high school religion teacher for the school, agreed to be the sponsor for the club. Mason had a group of fellow high school students and friends that were ready to lend a helping hand and Cooking for a Cause was born.
Each week during the school year, this group of students received pre-orders from the student body, baked the items to fulfill the orders and delivered baked goods to students at school on Fridays. Mason is quick to credit others for the club’s success—from his friends and classmates that cook and deliver, to the students and families that purchase the items, to the faculty and staff. He also says, “My parents were my biggest supporters of the club and have spent countless hours helping me bake. The club would not have been successful without them.” Mason deems it a total community effort that is inspired by God.
During the course of the school year, Cooking for a Cause raised a total of $3991 to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness in honor of St. Mary’s teacher, Mrs. Sharon Leone, Hurricane Laura Relief for the Diocese of Lake Charles, the Women’s Resource Center in Natchitoches, the Natchitoches Humane Society, the James White Memorial Scholarship at NSU and Project Celebration/Taylor House. An additional $5000 was given for the James White Memorial Scholarship by an anonymous donor.
When asked if Cooking for a Cause will continue next school year, Mason enthusiastically replies “Absolutely!” His goal is to raise a total of $10,000 by the time he graduates from high school. Mason also stays busy with numerous other extracurricular activities including the Beta Club, Student Council Executive Board, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Business Leaders of America, Natchitoches Leo Club and Yearbook as well as participating with the tennis, cross country and track teams. Mason has attended St. Mary’s since he was three years old and is a member of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church.