At 9 years old, Brittany Eubanks whipped up an award-winning recipe that earned her $1,000 and her school $5,000. She didn't submit it to the state or county fair. Nor did she use the usual ingredients of flour, sugar and butter.
Instead, Brittany beat together creativity, plain English and a lot of thought to come up with a recipe for professional success. And it won first place over 5,000 competing essays in Macy's "Follow a Leader" contest.
The recipe, which she called Chef Brittany's Footstep Pie, calls for: "Ten cups of schooling; nine cups of determination; eight cups of hard work; six cups of talent; four heaping tablespoons of respect, responsibility and honesty; one huge dash of life; and creativity to taste."
Students from area high schools, middle schools and ele- mentary schools were asked to pick from a list 10 area business and civic leaders, all of different professional backgrounds, and write a 300-word essay about why they want to be like them.
The contest, which concluded with yesterday's award ceremony the Owings Mills Macy's store, was sponsored by Macy's and supported by The Baltimore Sun. Essays were judged on how well students illustrated education as a key to professional success.
Brittany chose to write about Donna Crivello because she is a successful chef and entrepreneur. Crivello opened her first restaurant in 1992 and has since opened another full-service restaurant and 11 cafes, coffee bars and carry-outs. She also wrote "Donna's Cookbook."
"Every time I walk into Bibelot [in Pikesville], the first thing that grabs me is the aroma from Donna's Cafe. I've often wondered what it would be like to be a cook and own my own restaurant. Learning math and reading helps because I would have to know how to measure ingredients. I would also have to know how to read to even make the recipes. I must have some kind of plan to do everything, because in a cafe I would have to work very fast and still make the food delicious," Brittany wrote.
Crivello said she was charmed by Brittany's blunt and honest writing style. "They were all good, but Brittany's was far beyond the others. Her piece was very natural," Crivello said.
That creative and honest flare won Brittany a $1,000 prize, to be put toward education. But it was her emphasis on education, reading and math that clinched an additional prize of $5,000 for ++ her school, Bedford Elementary in Pikesville, according to Timothy J. Ray, Macy's publicity manager.
The nine other mentors were: Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier; National Aquarium Curator Craig W. Thomas; First Mariner Bank Chairman Edwin Hale Sr.; Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; University of Maryland Baltimore County President Freeman A. Hrabrowski; Baltimore City Fire Chief Herman Williams Jr.; WMAR-TV anchor Sandra Pinckney; Maryland Science Center Executive Director Gregory Paul Andorfer; and ESPN sportscaster Pam Shriver.
Macy's received more than 5,000 essays, with roughly 500 about each of the 10 mentors. A $1,000 award went to the best 10 essays. Only one $5,000 award was made to a school.
Macy's has held similar contests in seven other metropolitan areas, including Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, Miami and New York.