Providing ingredients for success; Coccadots give CCHS students skills and cupcakes

student lines cupcake pans with papers
CCHS Student Cori Ebel works independently on tasks each week at Coccadots.

What can be more fun than learning sweet skills from a cake shop?

The song “Jump” by Van Halen plays loudly in the backroom of the local bakery Coccadotts Cake Shop and every Wednesday morning you can find CCHS student Cori Ebel dancing to the beats of his favorite song.

Immediately following he puts on his apron and heads over to his station to get ready for the assigned task for the day.

Today Ebel is making carrot cupcakes

“We spend one hour here every week said,” Jennifer Satin, co-teacher of the life skills program at CCHS.  “I have known Cori since he was five, and baking has always been his favorite.”

Satin is consistently looking for new opportunities for students to engage in real-life experiences that could lead to jobs within the community.

“I know the owners and know the skill level of my students and this was a natural fit.”

Ebel works independently on tasks each week with Satin by his side as his coach.  

“It melted my heart when Cori started working here,” said Coccadot’s employee Alicia Smarro.  

Smarro has worked at Coccadots for three years and immediately felt a connection when Ebel began.

 “We were playing his favorite song the first time he came to volunteer here and it has since become a ritual that we start the day with,” Smarro added.

When Ebel is done with his assigned task he gets to decorate two cupcakes to take with himone to enjoy at school and one to bring home.

“He knows exactly what he is supposed to do next,” Satin said. “It makes me so proud to see how far he has come and how much joy he has working here.” 

In addition to working with Coccadots, CCHS life skill students volunteer at the Mohawk Humane Society, Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, SaraBella Pizzeria, and South Colonie Food Service Department. 

Organizations interested in partnering with South Colonie to support this program can email Jennifer Satin at