• Kelly teacher Marissa Troeschel set to appear on “Great American Baking Show”

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    Marissa Troeschel collage

    Marissa Troeschel will appear on ABC's "Great American Baking Show" starting Dec. 12.

    Marissa Troeschel showed a promo for a television program to her Kelly Elementary School students without telling them what it was. “I just starting playing it, and they’re like, ‘Wait! Wait! Wait! Is that you?’”

    It was. The promo was for “The Great American Baking Show,” an amateur competition on ABC, and Troeschel, who teaches drama at Kelly, is one of the contestants. The show’s new holiday-themed season begins airing Thursday at 9 p.m. (locally on KATU/2), and Troeschel, with the rest of the nation, will see the episodes for the first time.

    “I’m excited, and a little scared,” she said.

    Troeschel learned to bake with her grandmother growing up in Maryland, and she took on some of the family baking duties after her grandmother passed away. About five years ago, Troeschel got back into baking in a big way, challenging herself to become better.

    Like many amateur bakers, she became a fan of “The Great British Baking Show,” an iconic competition show filmed in London. When an American version was started, she applied. After not being accepted the first two times she applied, she made the cut after a series of phone and Skype interviews, and an in-person audition in Los Angeles. On her flight from Portland to L.A., her carry-on baggage included a pie, a cake and a loaf of bread she had baked for producers to taste.

    “It was very nerve-wracking,” she said.

    She was one of 10 bakers chosen to compete. She flew to London to film over a month during the summer, in the well-known white tent used for the British version. The bakers kept a schedule of two days of filming, two days off.

    “It’s pretty intense,” Troeschel said. “It’s 10- to 12-hour days that we’re filming.”

    Troeschel has taught drama at elementary, middle and high schools, has performed in plays since high school, and has a Master of Arts in Theater Education from Emerson College. That background, however, did not really prepare her for being on a baking competition show.

    “You definitely get used to it, but the first day of having cameras right in your face is kind of nerve-wracking,” she said. “You have to talk while you’re baking, there’s judges looking at you – there’s just so many components.”

    The actual baking also had a slew of challenges, with British ingredients and ovens that were slightly different than she is used to, and a time limit on each baking challenge.

    “I think all of us put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do well, and there were moments when things just started to break down,” she said. “It’s emotional, because you put a lot of love into your baking, you put a lot of feeling into it. When those are all heightened in the show, there are definitely some emotional moments. I remember saying, ‘I don’t know why I’m crying.’”

    Troeschel is not allowed to say how she fared in the competition, but her appearance has not been lost on colleagues at Kelly, who had already been enjoying her baking when it was her turn to bring snacks for staff meetings.

    “Now everyone knows about the show, so it’s probably going to become an expectation,” she said with a laugh.