The Student News Site of Carl Sandburg High School



The Barkery: Fostering creativity, employability, and joy

The Barkery is a microbusiness at Sandburg that makes and sells dog treats and cakes to teachers and staff around the school.

Dog treats and toys made by the Barkery

The Barkery was created during COVID when internships for students were not available. Teachers wanted students to have business experience without having to leave the building.

The program is primarily operated by junior students to get practice for the workforce. Mrs. Jelcic, the teacher who currently runs the program, says “I think it’s a great opportunity for students to learn some employability skills that they can translate in their future.”

Students in the Occupations class working hard to craft Barkery goodies – Photo courtesy of Kendra Jelcic

The Barkery is run through the occupations class, and the treat sales help raise money for their class. The Barkery team sends out an email every month with an attached Google form for taking orders for treats and cakes for staff pets.

Mr. Kwak, an English teacher here at Sandburg, shares that he was very curious about the Barkery, and he found the ordering process to be simple. He also adds that he is always happy to support a Sandburg organization, especially since his dog really enjoys the treats.

Lots of research went into finding natural and healthy recipes for the popular treats. Some of the main ingredients they use are peanut butter, almond butter, and applesauce. One of the more recent recipes they created after receiving feedback from the teachers is a peanut-free treat.

Along with making treats, the Barkery also makes birthday cakes for dogs. This is one of the more creative things they make, with fun molds shaped like dog bones, hearts, and pumpkins for the Halloween season. Mr. Kwak first purchased a paw print cake two years ago and said he “loved it. Mr. Kwak reports looking forward to his dog’s birthday in May so they can celebrate with a dog bone-shaped cake.

Staff dogs seem to love the Barkery cakes and treats – Photo courtesy of Kendra Jelcic

Another item that the Barkery is currently working on making are dog toys; however, these are a bit more challenging than the popular treats and cakes. There aren’t many students in the class that know how to make the toys, so the Barkery is looking to incorporate more classes to have more staff for this operation. Once the Barkery starts growing, they would love to start selling treats to students too.

The Barkery allows for students to express their creativity and help run an innovative and unique small business that prepares them for the workforce. “The kids work really hard, and they’re proud of the products that they’re selling. It’s a great opportunity for students to kind of showcase and feature themselves,” Mrs. Jelcic adds.

Students learn key life and work skills participating in the Barkery- Photos courtesy of Kendra Jelcic

“I think they’re really proud and they enjoy doing the job, and it’s really nice to see them being able to utilize that to affect the community.”

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