Do‌ ‌you‌ ‌know‌ ‌the‌ ‌muffin‌ ‌man?‌


Jenny Loveland

Although younger students never experienced it, many upperclassmen and a few teachers, too, hold fond memories of when engineering and technology teacher Adam Cogbill sold muffins for two dollars and fifty cents. “I saw [the muffins] around the halls and everyone would talk about them because they are so famous. Once I had to go to Cogbill’s class because he was not out in the hall and he made jokes with me and my friends, which was nice because I got to know him and he was never my teacher. I think the muffins should come back because it’s an NC tradition. The freshmen and sophomores have no idea what the famous muffin experience is like,” magnet senior Tatiana Cobos said.

Jenny Loveland, Co-Copy Editor

Although in-person school has resumed, restoring a sense of normalcy, several NC staff members and upperclassmen students feel a gaping hole in the fabric of the school: the muffins. Sold by engineering and technology teacher Adam Cogbill on school mornings, before the phrase “global pandemic” held a regular place in the world’s vocabulary, the muffins fed thousands of hungry NC attendees who wandered past his cart in the halls. Frequently, after buying one muffin, students returned, again and again, spreading word of the muffins to their peers until the muffin cart became a popular breakfast destination.

“I would pass Mr.Cogbill’s muffin cart every day on my way to AP Seminar, and they looked so good, especially on mornings when I didn’t eat breakfast, that I had to stop and try them. I was never too concerned about the price. The muffins were pretty good and they were really convenient, so I was willing to pay,” magnet senior Angelina Sisouphahn said.

Beyond providing breakfast to those in need, the muffins played another vital role for the school. Funds from the muffin sales supported the programs Cogbill teaches, providing important resources for hands-on classes where students work with wood and other materials that students cannot always reuse.

“It’s just a fundraiser for our engineering program and our club. We also need materials for classroom tools and materials that we use in the class that have to be purchased and they’re there, they’re used up or consumed, and then used again,” Cogbill said.

The Technology Student Association (TSA) club, provides students with the opportunities to explore STEM and leadership skills. As a national program, it also offers the chance to compete with teams from other high schools.

“There’s competitions where we do robotics. We do various competitions where they design different things throughout the year, and then go and compete at the state level against other kids that are doing the same competition. So, we meet Tuesdays and Thursday mornings. Right now, everybody’s welcome to come,” Cogbill said.

In the past, selling muffins made the programs between eight and ten thousand dollars a year, an outcome that required an increasing amount of work from Cogbill and students who volunteered to help him. Cogbill purchased the muffins every Sunday from Costco, brought them in, and wrapped each one individually. In the 2018-2019 school year alone, Cogbill and his student volunteers wrapped and sold a grand total of 29,615 muffins.

However, muffin-generated income has stalled as the school enforces COVID-19 safety protocols for the safety of all. While Cogbill used every possible measure to ensure safe muffins in the past, the current risks made handling and selling muffins inadvisable. Although Cogbill’s programs can continue to run off of savings from past years, eventually the muffins must return, or a new fundraiser must begin.

“The numbers are crazy right now. We’ll see what happens. I’m just hopeful we can stay in school and I don’t want to sabotage the school year. I’ve got some real rooting interest that we stay, I don’t want to add to it at all,” Cogbill said.

Whatever the future holds, Cogbill and his muffin cart will keep their place in the hearts and fond memories of those students who experienced them. Whether or not newer students will learn to bring money and track down the cart to buy a giant chocolate chip muffin remains uncertain, but Cogbill’s dedication to the programs and students he serves will continue to positively impact them, despite the ongoing pandemic.