Baking always had a special meaning for Jacqueline Amezcua-Lopez while she was growing up.

“My dad didn’t work on Fridays and he always had all different kinds of cakes and puddings waiting for me when I got home,” she said. “He loved to experiment with different things and sometimes he’d have five different cakes waiting for our family to try.”

Tragedy struck Amezcua-Lopez at age 13 when her father passed away while on a family trip to Mexico. She found the best way to honor his memory is to carry on his passion for baking. She began her formal training when she joined a cake decorating club during her freshman year at Kelly High School. She will graduate from Kennedy-King College in the spring 2019 term as the salutatorian with an Associate of Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts.

While at Kennedy-King, she has honed her baking skills, including making specialty breads for the Sikia Restaurant and a 4-tiered wedding cake.

“The cake fell over a couple of times, but I got the hang of it after a couple of different tries,” she said.

Amezcua-Lopez was able to complete her associate degree for free with the Star Scholarship and eventually plans to transfer to DePaul University or the University of Illinois-Chicago to attain a bachelor’s degree with a business concentration.

“My goal is to one day open my own bake shop to carry on the love of baking that my father had,” she said.

She has already started to develop a name for herself amongst her family and friends.

“They are always very excited to see me when I come home with leftovers or a project I had been working on at school,” she said.

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