Cookin’ Up Cakes

Dowling hosts the 59th annual Pancake Breakfast drive-thru-style to comply with COVID-19 precautions.


Becca Youngers, Staff Writer

The sweet smell of pancakes fills the air, parents and kids alike rush to find an empty table, and the band entertains with sweet jazz music all in the vicinity of the Varied Industries Building. This description can only be fit to the Dowling Pancake Breakfast.


COVID-19 has cancelled many of the traditions that make the fall at Dowling such an exciting and iconic season, but The Pancake Breakfast committee stopped at nothing to plan and prepare for COVID-19 precautions. Mrs. Carolyn Burch-Kirchhoff, who in recent years has become a big part of the planning committee, knew that by working hard to make sure the breakfast happened, a needed sense of normalcy would return.


“We started the planning process even earlier to address the challenges that COVID was presenting to us. After meeting through a lot of Zoom calls, we determined that this cherished tradition needed to continue, but we had to find a way to keep our Maroons healthy, safe and of course well-fed,” Kirchhoff said.


It is not unknown that The Pancake Breakfast is a large fundraiser for Dowling with ticket sales, the Maroon Market, and donations being fundamental parts of the breakfast. While fundraising is great, the tradition of The Pancake Breakfast alone was enough to push for a way to hold it this year.


“We [committee] had to throw out our regular event plan and really start from scratch. Our committee has been totally dedicated and committed to making this a great event while adhering to all safety precautions. With the commitment from our loyal alumni, parents and sponsors I am happy to report we have raised more this year than we have last year,” Kirchhoff said.


The breakfast itself is no easy task to plan by itself, but with added factors of COVID-19 precautions and uncertainty of the future, the committee met even earlier in the summer than they would normally to just get some ideas flowing. 


“I often refer to this event as a ‘big, beautiful beast.’ There are so many components to this event that serves breakfast to over three thousand people. We had to throw out our regular event plan and really start from scratch,” Kirchhoff said.


So, what does The Pancake Breakfast look like this year, you may ask? The drive-thru breakfast will take place on Sunday, October 25th, with touchless delivery of pancake kits with batter and syrup. There are other options available for families who either cannot attend the drive-thru or those that want to support yet might not want actual pancakes.


“Kits can be sent home with students or ticket purchasers may select to donate their breakfast kits to a local food pantry,” Kirchhoff said.


The student-involved elements of The Pancake Breakfast are still going to be included this year. The committee wanted to create a fun and inviting environment for those driving through Dowling who may be alumni or relatives of students.


“For those coming to campus, they will be greeted by masked volunteers, many school groups and clubs as greeters, a DJ playing music and a special performance by our own DCHS drumline, plus a few top secret surprise guest appearances!” Kirchhoff said.


There are also opportunities for students and faculty to get involved in this year. The committee and administration alike agreed that students and teachers’ involvement in the breakfast, whether that be through their extracurricular activities, through volunteering, or even just showing up to the breakfast, was important to replicate as best as possible for this year.


“Students, please encourage your faculty and staff to create some videos and submit them to me. I would love to share them. Also, October 8th and 9th are jeans days to support The Pancake Breakfast,” Kirchhoff said. “Anyone wanting to demonstrate their love for pancakes can purchase a world famous I Heart Pancakes t-shirt from the business office or by contacting me. Shirts are $10 and I would love to see many of you sporting them. I will be wearing mine for sure!”


The Pancake Breakfast remains to be one of the greatest fall traditions here at Dowling. Along with returning to being present in school, our groups, sports teams, etc., the traditions combined with the spirit and tenacity of the Dowling community make up the perfect duo, almost like pancakes and syrup.