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Sweet Way to Pay for College – Teens' Tabletop Bakery on Solano Ave.

Two middle-school students were getting an early start on paying for college on Saturday – selling their homemade baked goods on Solano Avenue at the Berkeley and Albany border.

Asha Byrd (right) and Isabel Hackett, students at Willard Middle School in Berkeley, were raising money for college by selling homemade baked goods on Solano Avenue at the Berkeley-Albany border on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2013. Photo: Charles Burress
Asha Byrd (right) and Isabel Hackett, students at Willard Middle School in Berkeley, were raising money for college by selling homemade baked goods on Solano Avenue at the Berkeley-Albany border on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2013. Photo: Charles Burress
It was almost like stumbling upon an oasis.

A hungry and not entirely elated Patch editor was walking down Solano Avenue Saturday afternoon – his shoulders slightly hunched against the chill and occasional drifts of drizzle under a gray, overcast sky – when his day was suddenly brightened by the cheerful smiles of two middle-school students and their sidewalk table filled with a colorful array of fresh, homemade cookies, cupcakes, brownies, pudding and a tempting, rich German chocolate cake.

"They're 100 percent homemade," said Isabel Hackett, one of the young entrepreneurs who'd set up their wares in front of the small Solano Peralta Park across the street from 7-Eleven at the border of Berkeley and Albany.

And why were Isabel and her partner Asha Byrd, both of Willard Middle School in Berkeley, doing this?

"We're planning on saving 25 percent for college," Isabel said.

On learning the purpose of their enterprise, the Patch editor was able to cheerfully exchange 75 cents for a chocolate-chip cookie and $2 for a slice of German chocolate cake – without a peep of protest from his calorie-counting conscience.

michaelwilliams January 12, 2014 at 12:04 PM
I currently teach Asha at Willard and have also taught her older sister, Nia, as well as their father, James. Knowing this family since the 1980s I can say that nothing has been handed to them. As a single father James has an incredible work ethic as do his daughters. If Asha says that 25% of the proceeds are going for a college fund then I'm sure 25% OR MORE will be going for that purpose. As a teacher I am often frustrated by students who refuse to take advantage of the opportunity to get a good education and make a better life for themselves. Fortunately, I also have students such as Asha who I know will do all in their power to make their future, and that of the world, better.
Karen Byrd January 12, 2014 at 01:56 PM
Congratulations to both Asha and Isabel for being recognized in this great article. Asha has always been a hard worker and is always thinking of her future. Her family is very proud of her and her amazing worth ethics.
D. Mehrten January 12, 2014 at 11:02 PM
But is it legal? Sorry to be a curmudgeon, but what if lotsa folks did this, and what if we got sick from eating homemade who-know-what street food?
Laney Russell January 12, 2014 at 11:10 PM
Legal? Very doubtful. It was illegal to sell garden produce a.k.a. "non-processed edibles" in Berkeley until 2012. Baked goods are a whole nother story.
christopher papazoglow January 13, 2014 at 02:57 AM
D. Mehrten....."....what if lotsa folks did this?" Then likely, lotsa folks would be less stressed out about finding a job. "....and what if we got sick....?" You'd likely recover.

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