Lots of cakes over 26 years
By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
When Murlena Beard signed on as the baker for the Imperial Grade School/Chase County High School’s cafeteria 26 years ago, there was a tradition of baking a birthday cake once a month to celebrate those students who had birthdays that month.
“It was a hodge podge,” Beard remembers. There was barely enough time to bake the cake and all of the other breads that needed to be served in the cafeteria.
“I had all of these pans and I said just let me do it at home.”
That started a tradition at school. Beard would bake one cake to be cut up during lunch and given to those students with birthdays. She would also bake one that a lucky student, chosen through a raffle, would get to take home.
Beard would do a different design each time. “I try to follow the holidays,” she said. She also used to decorate bulletin boards by the season, and coordinated her cakes with them.
She doesn’t know how many specially shaped pans she has. This month’s was a scarecrow.
Beard uses a confetti cake mix, then blends her own buttercream frosting, using tubes and tips to create the designs.
She doesn’t “have a clue” as to how much longer she’ll make the cakes, as arthritis is hindering her decorating efforts.
Beard retired from the school 10 years ago, but is still providing the cake for the second Wednesday of the month raffle.
Children with birthdays in June, July and August celebrate them during March, April and May.
Beard no longer makes a cake for children to eat during lunch. That practice was discontinued two years ago, as the cafeteria became too crowded with K-3 students and their parents waiting to be served cake.
Now, parents are encouraged to attend lunch on their childrens’ birthdays.