(WTNH) — Cookies in the classroom! It’s part of the curriculum in West Hartford that’s helping students break into a popular industry.

At Conard High School, the cookies are cut and the oven is hot. Now the time is ticking for the sweet treats to make the deadline. Only, the cookies aren’t for Saint Nick on Christmas Eve. The festive goodies are graded.

“Students come in here to learn the basics of working their way through the kitchen,” explained teacher Pam Geyer.

Conard High School’s food course is not all sugar and spice, whipping up something easy and nice. Students are taking the course to improve an important life skill: feeding themselves and their families.

“We are working on pressing the cookies in, which is a little difficult,” explained senior Katie Flaherty. “I’ve never worked with that tool before so it was definitely a learning curve…I’ve definitely noticed what I’m making at home, my skills have gotten a lot better.”

For some students, this is really their first opportunity to break into culinary arts and the high-demand restaurant business.

“I love the adrenaline of being in a kitchen,” said senior Julius Wagner who grew up in the kitchen of his parents’ restaurant. Now, he’s looking to follow in their footsteps. “This class, for me at least, is a stepping stone onto the next one and hopefully onto culinary schools in the future.”

These courses also focus on child development, family development, and nutrition.

For their teacher – who’s been with the school for 29 years – she’s figured out she’s teaching a class that makes a real impact.

“Children of my former students are coming back,” Geyer said. “And to hear that their parents are saying ‘yes you have to take this class,’ it’s very rewarding from that standpoint, too.”