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      Students learn to see the 'sweet' side of life by baking pies

      The resident of the American Gothic House in Eldon is sure about one thing; the world needs more pie.

      Beth Howard, author of the soon released "Making Piece: a memoir of love, loss and pie", bakes pies for parties, bridal showers and everything in between. But now, she is taking her talent for the dessert to local schools, and bringing an important message with it.

      Howard held a class on baking homemade pies for 26 students at Cardinal High School, and on Tuesday, taught 60 students at Ottumwa High to work with their hands, not be afraid of a little flour and realize that something as simple as a pie can give back to the community.

      "It's a way to sort of instill a message about giving back to others and simplifying your life by getting away from technology and working with your two bare hands," Howard said. "That's what's really fun about this is that once they get their hands on the dough, they don't want to stop touching it. 'Oh, we don't want to get our hands dirty', and the next thing you know, I'm like, 'stop touching your dough!'"

      Howard's pie lesson ties into what the OHS students are learning in class about giving back and the way it makes you feel. Once the pies baked and cooled, the students were to give it to someone who needed a little cheering up.

      "That's one of the big parts of this lesson is to share the pie with others after you've made it," Howard said. "It's something you made yourself with your two bare hands, you made it with love and it's fun to see the students have that sense of accomplishment. They can't wait to show off their pie to their family or friends and eat it, and they're so proud, and I get such great satisfaction out of teaching these classes."

      The overall lesson? Life can be bitter, but you can choose to make it better.

      That, and there is always room for more pie.

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