Elkin High School welcomed Cherie Cooke, a new Family and Consumer Science teacher this fall. Due to their hands-on nature, her foods courses handily fall into the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) focus in Elkin City Schools.
Cooke is enthusiastic about teaching anything for foods labs, primarily because she enjoys watching students learn “how to easily cook healthy foods for themselves and their families.”
One of her favorite lessons to teach is the yeast bread unit, in which students make giant hot pockets. Each kitchen group chooses a different recipe, either breakfast, pizza, taco style, or Philly cheese steak. Cooke said, “They all turned out great!”
Foods II also contains the Servsafe course, which teaches food safety. Students learn about food-borne illnesses and how to avoid spreading them, as well as proper food storage, holding temperatures, cooking temperatures and personal hygiene. Cooke said it is particularly interesting to see how students’ perspectives change when dining out after taking Servsafe.
In the spring, Cooke plans to begin work on creating an organic herb and vegetable garden at Elkin High School for students to grow products to cook in the foods lab. It will be a collaborative effort between Cooke and several other teachers and will offer students hands-on experience growing and harvesting organic produce.
Cooke is new to teaching at a high school level, but believes stressing too much is unproductive. She tries to remember each day what she loves about teaching, and lets that be her focus when things become overwhelming.
Henry Freeman is a member of the Elkin High School Journalism Club.