First Year of Junior High Home Economics Class Off to a Good Start
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 25, 2024
WOODSTOCK—Her own happy memories of learning to sew in a junior high home economics class led St. Mary School parent, teacher and volunteer Amy Letendre to suggest home economics as an elective for students today.
Middle school students get to pick electives, she explains. “I remember loving to go into my home economics class and do hands-on work.”
The principal at St. Mary’s was on board with the idea, so the volunteer turned part-time art teacher began to plan. Her class of 10 eighth graders — half girls and half boys — began with some hand sewing skills, moving from plastic needles sewing on a plastic grid to designing bookmarks and sewing button eyes on ornaments.
Many donors contributed to provide classroom and cooking supplies, fulfilling her Amazon wish list of supplies. She mentions Linda Remmers from Sewing Concepts, St. Mary Men’s Club, and Judy Springer for their help in purchasing new sewing machines, which the kids love, she says.
The class now is starting to cook, beginning with food safety and using whisks on egg whites for meringue cookies. “A couple of parents are chefs,” Letendre says, adding that she hopes to bring the pastry chef parent in to demonstrate and show students how cooking can become a career. She also is committed to show the need for a certain amount of science necessary for success in sewing and cooking.
In this first year, she says she is “playing it by ear” as she goes, but that, “It has been a lot of fun … I want the kids to be excited when they come, and they seem to be. They are excellent (using) their hands and love to see material (turn into) an actual product. They are really proud of themselves.”
The final sewing project, she notes, is “a big, chicken nugget-shaped pillow.”
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