Lilymoon Whalen,

Baking Delicious Macarons for Educational Equality

Lily Whalen.

Lilymoon (‘Lily’) Whalen (17), a senior at Lake Washington High School, sells homemade macarons online to raise awareness of and money for educational inequality. She is committed to donating all the profits to the Washington Education Association (WEA) Children’s Fund.

“I started to learn baking with my grandparents when I was 6 or 7,” Lily explains, “and now they are not at all surprised that I enjoy baking so much — apparently, when I made my first carrot cake, I sat in front of the oven watching it rise for over 45 minutes!” She first tried to make macarons when she was in middle school. “I knew they were difficult to make, so I followed recipes and watched tutorials online, and it took me several attempts to be successful!” she continues, “but now I know that you have to measure the ingredients very precisely, fold very carefully and be accurate with the oven temperature: it’s all rather scientific!”

While Lily had always been interested in the topic of inequality, it was not until AP Seminar that she had the chance to explore social justice more deeply. Subsequently, in AP Research, she conducted her own research on social inequality, carried out over an entire academic year. Shocked after learning about the difference in education funding in different states and even in different regions, Lily decided to focus on education inequality. She presented a thesis on median household income versus educational funding in public school districts in Washington State. As Lily explains on her website, “education is not the great equalizer many individuals see it as — instead, education outcomes are heavily reliant on the wealth of families, and this is perpetuated by the growing wealth inequality in the United States.” Her AP U.S. History teacher further emphasized this point, explaining that education discrimination is historical yet ongoing and current.

“I knew I wanted to raise awareness of this issue,” Lily explains, “because unless people are aware of it, how can it be solved?” At the end of her junior year, she decided to use her baking hobby to make a difference. “I researched organizations working in this field and chose to donate the profits from my sales to the WEA Washington Children’s Fund, which focuses on providing disadvantaged students with supplies, including shoes, coats and other necessities,” Lily says, “and I recently donated $620 to this organization.”

Lily’s first macaron flavor was earl grey tea, chosen because she wanted to create unique and fun flavors. She tested the flavor out on teammates at an end-of-season badminton party — and everyone loved the taste. Another surprising flavor is black sesame ube, made from purple yams!

Orders can be placed online at Lily’s and can be picked up on Sundays at Everest Park or delivered locally for an extra fee.

Congratulations, Lily, on mastering the difficult skill of macaron baking! And for using your skills to help raise awareness of such an important local and national issue while donating your profits.