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Eyes that see the good in things: Aug. 19, 2019


August 19, 2019

“Good Morning America” used to be one of my favorite shows, although I admit I probably haven’t watched in 20 years. Mostly because watching morning TV doesn’t work when you’re working.

However, we recently disconnected our satellite television service and are streaming our television choices. We’ve found that some programs work better than others. As a result, I think I’ve found myself watching more TV than normal, trying new shows just to see if they work for us. So, that morning, I watched as I got ready for work. “Good Morning America” did not disappoint and gave me a couple of those feel-good stories that I had always loved.

The segment began with Robin Roberts, one of the hosts of the show, making her way to the show’s kitchen, fork in hand. As the camera people followed her, Roberts filled the audience in. The show’s producers had told Anamarie Morales, aka The College Confectionista, that they wanted her to bake cheesecake for their staff, so the young woman had been baking in their kitchen all morning. She was actually going to be invited to share her story on “Good Morning America” on live TV that morning. A shocked cheesecake baker followed Roberts from the kitchen to the set where she would be interviewed. Morales, a California woman who started a cheesecake business to pay for college, will start college this fall at the University of California Berkeley and she plans to graduate from college debt- free.

Although her family loved cheesecake and she had always loved to bake, Morales told the “Good Morning America” staff that she didn’t bake her first cheesecake until she was a senior in high school. Her first attempt making cheesecake came during a stressful college application season. “What do I do when I feel stressed out? I bake something,” she said. “So, I baked my very first cheesecake during Christmas and that’s how it all began.”

Her mom brought that cheesecake to work and it was a huge hit. Her mom’s coworkers asked her to get the recipe from her daughter. However, her recipe is still hers alone. She has guarded it carefully, shared it with no one and no one knows the recipe, except her. That first cheesecake success was the inspiration for Morales to start baking more cheesecakes and to try to sell them. She called herself the College Confectionista and started selling the cheesecake for $40 each. Since that time, Morales estimates that she has sold thousands of cheesecakes. She concedes that it’s been a lot of work, since she does the baking, decorating, boxing and delivering by herself, but says she still loves what she does.

This isn’t Morales’ first time as an entrepreneur. When she was a child, she started a greeting card business, taking her birthday money to head to the local craft store to buy cardstock. Then, she’d take her greeting card creations and start knocking on doors, asking if people wanted to buy a card from her.

This time, she says she is “baking her way through college, one cheesecake at a time.” Morales says the cheesecake business has drastically impacted her life. People recognize her on the street as the cheesecake girl and stop her to place orders. She, herself, loves cheesecake but it is so much more than a delicious dessert to her. She loves baking them and creating new cheesecake flavors, but what she loves the most is watching people take a bite of one of her creations and seeing the smile that comes across their face. Knowing that they feel good about their purchase makes her feel good about her sale.

The success of Anamarie Morales’s cheesecake business has allowed her to pay her own way through three years of community college in California. Now, she plans to major in business at the University of California Berkeley and has saved enough money to pay for that first semester of school. Thanks to cheesecakes and hard work, she expects to be able to graduate from college debt free.

“I have worked my butt off for it, though, and I have put in so many hours and have networked with so many people over these past few years,” she said. “And I really put myself in situations that made me nervous and made me grow.”

Morales told “Good Morning America” that she knew that her parents would not be able to pay for her college. Although they worked very hard to give their family everything that they needed, paying for college was simply not possible. Her parents say they are very proud of the way she has taken this upon herself to find a way to put herself through college, how she has been able to cross every hurdle she comes up against. The next hurdle for her is to find a place to live when school starts in the next couple of weeks.

A cart was rolled across the “Good Morning America” set that morning, holding a suite of KitchenAid products, including a beautiful mixer in her favorite cherry red color. Morales was ecstatic with the KitchenAid products, as it was the exact suite that she had been dreaming about when she saw it at Costco earlier that month. However, it was the $10,000 check KitchenAid gave her to help with living expenses that moved her to tears and rendered her speechless.

Morales plans to continue her cheesecake business after college, but dreams of turning it into a non-profit for other first-generation college students. “I want to turn this business into a non-profit organization that gives back to other low-income Latinas who are seeking to become first-generation college students,” she said. “My program would mentor and also provide scholarships for their journey through college.”

The segment closed when Roberts turned to Laura Morales, Anamarie’s mother, “Okay, Mom, how proud are you?”

Wiping tears from her eyes, Morales’ mother said that she is so proud of her daughter, that this whole day had come as such a shock for her. She had only come with her daughter to support and help her in the kitchen as she got this opportunity to bake for “Good Morning America.” She smiled as she concluded, “Watching Anamarie grow from this spicy redhead to this amazing, intelligent, hard-working woman is incredible.”

For me, that was a perfect way to start the morning, watching this self-proclaimed “firecracker” succeed in doing hard things to achieve her goals. It was a plus “Good Morning America noticed and KitchenAid rewarded it. That’s a lot of good things in one story!

We would love to share local stories about the good things your eyes are seeing.

Stop in to share your stories with us, give us a call at 947-2417 or e-mail us at [email protected] Or send a letter to Eyes That See the Good in Things, c/o Allison Lindgren, The Transcript 6 8th St N., New Rockford, ND 58356.


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