Cookie Tuesday


Alexis Auten

Junior, Cira Racco, grabbing a cookie from Kelly on Cookie Tuesday before going to basketball practice.

Every Tuesday, students race down to the athletic trainer’s room, hoping to get a cookie. Why would you go to an athletic trainer’s room for a cookie? Why on Tuesday? Ask any student at Groves and they’ll give you a two-word answer: Kelly’s Cookies.
Kelly Salter is the athletic trainer at Groves. This means that Salter is a licensed healthcare professional meant to deal with medical emergencies and sports rehabilitation. She’s been working at Groves for twelve years and has earned her own day of the week: Tuesdays.
Cookie Tuesday is exactly what it sounds like. Every Tuesday, Salter brings in 80-100 cookies for students and athletes. It’s a new recipe each week, with a special shoutout to who the cookies are dedicated to on her Instagram. This has been going on since 2015, when she would only bake about two dozen cookies, and hadn’t claimed Tuesdays yet. Slowly over time, as more students began to discover Kelly’s Cookies and they gained traction, a date was chosen and Cookie Tuesdays were born. The question still remains, why Tuesdays?
“Tuesday, to me, is the most mundane day of the week. Monday is the start of the week, Wednesday gets hump day, Thursday, Friday [is the] end of the week…” Salter said.
Cookie Tuesday was started after Salter’s two sons went to middle school and she had a lot more free time, which she struggled with. Her therapist recommended that she use a creative outlet.
“I never baked cookies really in my life, maybe break and bakes. But one day, I literally googled “fast chocolate chip cookie recipe” and a recipe came up; I made it, brought it to school, they ate it and that’s kinda how it started,” Salter said.
Salter has created a community at Groves. No matter what’s going on, Cookie Tuesdays remain a constant for many students. While most students just go for a “mid-week” sweet treat, a special few go to the athletic office to make a connection and have a conversation. Salter can recall numerous instances where she’ll find herself conversing with a student she’d never known before, discussing what might be bothering them, how their day had been or just sharing something random.
“Food brings out conversation,” Salter said.
We’ve discussed the cookie part of Kelly’s Cookies, but now let’s talk about the other half: Kelly. Whether it’s a quick “hello” when passing, getting your injury fixed, or a random conversation, almost all student-athletes at Groves have interacted with Salter. She’ll remember your older siblings, the random injury you had freshman year and what position you are or events you compete in. Salter makes sure you at least have one person to talk to.
A Grand Valley graduate, she loves working at Groves, especially with athletes. She can watch kids grow for four years consecutively and really get to know them.
“Athletes are fun. They want to get back to sports, so… they’re kind of self-motivated,” Salter said.
Salter found her love of becoming an athletic trainer through an injury herself. After experiencing an injury from swimming, her high school sport, and working with her high school’s athletic trainer, she discovered her love for the profession. The story isn’t this straightforward though— her athletic trainer happened to be a minor teenage girl crush, who she wanted to work with. Her focus quickly shifted when she realized how much she really loved the work. So we can all give a thank you to Salter’s athletic trainer who “inspired” her to be with us today.
What makes Salter feel like a safe space for so many students at Groves, especially student athletes, is her willingness and openness to talk about mental health. Salter’s Instagram will constantly have messages about her previous mental health struggles and words of encouragement. She’s been very transparent with her journey with bulimia as a teenager and into her twenties, and has created a safe space for students or anyone who might be going through something similar.
“I’m to a point now in my life where sharing my story is okay. I’ve grown comfortable with the vulnerability, so the more I can share to let people feel comfortable coming in, I’m going to do,” Salter said.
Having a person at school, especially for athletes, to talk to someone who isn’t being paid to listen to your problems is an amazing resource that Salter has created and many students use. Her generosity and transparency are quietly appreciated by many.
“I’ve learned in all my years that if I’m going through a tough season, if I can find a way to love and encourage someone else, it helps me get through that season,” Salter said.
Every Cookie Tuesday is used to shoutout to someone on Salter’s Instagram. Whether it’s someone who needs encouragement, or someone doing something Salter loves, she says: “there’s always someone if you look.”
When asked if she had any advice for students, Salter said: “It doesn’t have to be cookies, but if we all find one way, weekly or monthly, to just write a note, send a text, visit, do something with somebody— it’s going to make their day and help them. But it really is two-fold, [be]cause you feel encouraged too. That’s what I use cookies for, but it doesn’t have to be cookies.”