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05.24.2010 CHEEF Comments Off on HECT Leads to High Wage Careers

HECT Leads to High Wage Careers

James Oviatt, Beaumont High School  Class of 1991, and Emily Mastrolia, Deer Valley High School in Antioch’s Class of 2009, are both former state presidents of the California organization FHA-HERO. Oviatt has since used his leadership skills gained through FHA-HERO, and those he learned in child development courses in the Home Economics Careers and Technology program at Beaumont High School, in his work as an attractions supervisor at Disneyland. Emily is now a college student, but looks forward to a promising career as an interior designer, having taken Home Economics Careers and Technology courses in that area while at Deer Valley High School. Photo by Carl Dameron

Mona Pasquil served as the acting lieutenant governor of California for eight months in 2009 and 2010. Long before then, she learned leadership and management skills by taking courses in California’s Home Economics Careers and Technology program.

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) “Home Economics Careers and Technology, prepares students for high-skill, high-wage careers in related industries,” said Janice DeBenedetti, California state consultant to this program.

Home Economics Careers and Technology, a program offered in more than 750 schools in California, is part of what is known as Career Technical Education. The focus of these programs is preparing students for successful careers.

“Career Technical Education programs are geared to all students – those going on to college and later work, and those who will enter the workforce directly out of high school,” said Pat Gemma, superintendent of the Sequoia Union High School District, which serves cities in the “Silicon Valley” area, including Belmont, Woodside, Atherton, San Carlos and Menlo Park. “These programs help students identify college majors and future careers, as much as it prepares students with more immediate plans to enter the work force.”

Research has identified at least 40 careers for which the Home Economics Careers and Technology program prepares its students. These careers have a range of wages, some of them bringing opportunities to earn more than $100,000 at mid-career.

For instance, with a high school diploma a young adult can work as a childcare assistant, a product demonstrator, a restaurant server or as the assistant to a hotel concierge. These jobs start at around $16,000 a year for full-time, and with experience and advanced training, the earning potential exceeds $30,000. These jobs also are often part-time jobs a college student could hold while pursuing additional education.

Careers for which Home Economics Careers and Technology and a college education prepare a student are many. Some, such as psychologist, fashion designer, financial advisor or theme park director pay average salaries of almost $150,000.

Elementary and secondary school teachers start at salaries of almost $40,000 and can earn more than $80,000. Executive and sous chefs at restaurants start at salaries of about $23,100 and earn $70,000 on average. Museum curators and hotel managers start at salaries around $28,200 and earn about $80,000 on average.

These are just some of the careers for which Home Economics Careers and Technology prepare students.

“In today’s competitive economy, even a high school graduate seeking an entry level job needs skills to succeed,” DeBenedetti said. “Home Economics Careers and Technology is designed to prepare young people for success in home economics-related occupations, and for success in their personal lives.”

“Home Economics Related Occupations, the career-oriented part of our program, provides instruction through “pathways,” which are courses of study focusing on a specific career area,” she said “The other part of our program, Consumer and Family Studies, prepares students with personal and life management skills.”

Schools offering pathways award certificates of completion to students who successfully complete them, or word the students’ high school diplomas to recognize this accomplishment. The written proof of this highly specialized training may prove as valuable as the diploma itself when the young high school graduate searches for his or her first full-time job.

Within the Home Economics Careers and Technology program, these pathways are:

  • Food service and hospitality, which prepares students for careers such as chefs or restaurant managers. It also prepares them for work in entry-level jobs such as food servers, as 90 percent of people who work for a salary in restaurants started out with an entry-level job in the food service industry.

  • Food science, dietetics and nutrition, which also prepares students for work in the food industry, but primarily in venues outside of restaurants. This includes developing new food products, creating menus for schools, hospitals and other institutions, and educating people about healthy eating.

  • Hospitality, tourism and recreation, which prepares students for jobs in the tourism industry that aren’t necessarily related to food. These careers include theme park directors, event planners, hotel managers, and travel agents.

  • Fashion design, manufacturing and merchandising, which prepares students for careers in the garment and accessories industry. Tailors, fashion designers, store buyers and apparel marketers are a few of the jobs within this industry.

  • Interior design, furnishings and maintenance, which prepares students for careers in the growing field of interior design. These include interior designers, building maintenance managers, and furniture manufacturers.

  • Child development, which prepares students for careers with young children, such as day care, or teaching preschool. Students interested in higher-wage careers such as pediatrician or child psychologist also benefit from the child development pathway

  • Education, which focuses on preparing students for careers in teaching and school administration at the elementary and high school levels.

  • Consumer services, which prepares students for work in a variety of professional fields, such as communications, customer service, financial planning, and product and development research.

  • Family and human services, which prepares students for a broad variety of jobs, such as social worker, marriage and family therapist, or substance abuse counselor. It also provides training in caring for senior citizens, which is one of the state’s fastest growing industries.

The program now known as Home Economics Careers and Technology has undergone a transformation over the last 30 years. Prior to the 1960s, the program focused on training women in skills they would need as wives and mothers. But, as more women began working outside the home, California changed its home economics curriculum to reflect this, and added the Home Economics Related Occupations component.

As all professions, including those in home economics related industries became more dependent on technology, so did the courses offered in secondary schools. To reflect this change, California renamed its home economics program Home Economics Careers and Technology in the 1990s.

There are now more than 750 schools offering Home Economics Careers and Technology courses. More than 300,000 students are enrolled in these classes throughout the state.

For more information, call Janice DeBenedetti at (916) 319-0890.

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10.22.2009 CHEEF Comments Off on Teens Graduate Ready for Life

Teens Graduate Ready for Life

Explore, Discover, Become was the theme of FHA-HERO during the 2008-09 school year. Every year, students who are enrolled in Consumer & Family Studies, a program offered by Home Economics Careers and Technology, have the opportunity to explore possibilities, discover what interests them and become successful in life by learning skills that will help them to excel.  If they also become involved in FHA-HERO, the career technical student organization affiliated with Home Economics Careers and Technology, they will have an immediate opportunity to put their newly-learned skills into practice. Photo by Carl Dameron

These young ladies are ready to attend a school formal. This one was put on at the California State Leadership Meeting for their organization,  FHA-HERO,which teaches leadership, communication, organization and other skills they’ll need to succeed in the adult world. FHA-HERO is a co-curricular student organization for Home Economics Careers and Technology. Through one of HECT’s programs, Consumer & Family Studies, thousands of California students are learning these skills in an academic environment. Many of them have an immediate opportunity to put them into practice through their involvement in FHA-HERO. Photo by Carl Dameron
(SACRAMENTO Calif.) – It has been said that life brings about the most change between the ages of 16 and 26.

Between those ages, students typically graduate from high school, move from their parents’ home to a dorm or apartment, begin a career, and often, marry and have children. That’s a lot happening in the space of a few short years and, tragically, many young adults pass through this decade of life ill-prepared.

A program taught at many California high schools makes sure they are ready. It provides these students with training in personal and family management skills such as parenting, communication and budgeting, and with career preparation skills such as writing resumes, interviewing for jobs and gaining entry-level experience in career fields related to one’s “dream job.”

The program, officially known as Consumer and Family Studies, is taught through Home Economics Careers and Technology, a part of the California Department of Education. The courses within this program are known by different names, such as “Parenting,” “Life Management” and “Economics for Living.”

“I want them to be responsible citizens,” said Tracy Taylor, department chair overseeing the Home Economics Careers and Technology courses at Rowland High School in Rowland Heights. “And I want them to be prepared to have a great home, a great family AND a great career.”

At Rowland High School, as with all of the others offering Consumer and Family Studies programs, the courses serve two purposes. One is to create young adults who are well equipped to handle life’s challenges. The other is to expose them to high-demand, well-paying careers in areas such as education, culinary arts, hospitality & tourism, fashion and interior design and consumer marketing.

At many schools, students who have any interest in taking any courses offered through their Home Economics Careers and Technology department begin with a course often titled “Life Management.” 

The introductory course will give students exposure to more advanced Home Economics Careers and Technology courses the school offers, which is important because a growing number of high schools ask their ninth- or tenth-grade students to select a “pathway,” so that elective study will be focused on a specific career path.

Students in this course typically will learn about nutrition and food preparation skills, selecting and furnishing a residence, selecting apparel, and child development. With that overview, students not only have information they can use in their personal lives, but they’re also equipped to decide if careers along those pathways interest them.

Many Home Economics Careers and Technology programs offer three pathways, one focusing on culinary arts, one focusing on fashion and a third focusing on child development. A few schools also add pathways focusing on hospitality and tourism, interior design, consumer studies, food science and other related career fields.

Many schools offer more intense project-based Consumer & Family Studies courses to juniors and seniors only. The course name and focus vary somewhat, but are designed to help students make the transition from teenager to productive, independent adult.

 At Rowland High School, the course is called “Parenting,” It is a required course in the pathway focusing on child development and education, but open to all students in grades 11 and 12.

And what does “Parenting” entail? The development, care and guidance of children is certainly part of the course, but sometimes, it’s only a small part.

These parenting topics are addressed for two weeks at the end of the first semester. Before then, students will study self-awareness, dating and relationships, marriage preparation, deciding when or if to have kids, and what to expect during pregnancy and childbirth. 

In the second semester, Rowland High’s parenting course focuses on what it’s like to raise a family in the real world. Students will have to develop that real-life scenario in another project, by “finding” jobs and places to live, and putting together budgets for their make-believe households.

“My parenting class is highly popular,” Taylor said. “My students rave over what life lessons I have taught them, some even tell me they share these with their own parents who never knew certain things.  These are life skills used in making daily choices as young adults and one day, as parents and spouses.”

At Fountain Valley High School in Fountain Valley, a similar course is offered. This course, after a beginning unit on self awareness, starts off by having students consider something they might, as seniors, be doing anyhow – selecting a new city to live in and what college to attend.

They will then learn about finding an apartment and a roommate to share the household expenses. Lessons in interior decoration, budgeting and cooking round out the first semester.

“Our students really like this course,” said Armida Gordon, one of two teachers at Fountain Valley High School who teaches the course. “It teaches them how to move out and live on their own.”

In the second semester, they will learn more about budgeting, goal setting, communication and career planning. A unit on relationships, which touches on marriage and family life, is part of the second-semester curriculum.

Research-based projects accompany each unit, Gordon said. At the end of the year, students have a notebook that can serve as a handy reference manual when they actually move away from their parents’ home and must make personal and household management decisions on their own.

“We have a student teacher this semester in our English department who took the course years ago,” Gordon said. “He says that course and Foods and Nutrition, were two of the most valuable courses he took in high school, because he couldn’t live without them.”

There are more than 750 schools offering the Home Economics Careers and Technology program in California, serving more than 300,000 students. Many of these also offer the co-curricular student leadership and career development program FHA-HERO. For more information, call State Consultant Janice DeBenedetti at (916) 323-5025.

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10.16.2009 CHEEF Comments Off on HECT Prepares Students for Teaching Careers

HECT Prepares Students for Teaching Careers

Tina Luk, a senior at Rowland High School, reads a story to preschoolers during her Careers with Children course. Tina and thousands of other teens in California high schools who take Careers with Children and other courses in the Child Development and Education pathway, offered by Home Economics Careers and Technology, are learning skills that will help prepare them for careers as teachers, pediatricians, counselors and many other occupations that involve working with children. Photo by Chris Sloan.

Jennifer Anaya and Brittany Clark help Rilee (center), decorate a paper pumpkin during their Careers With Children course at Rowland High School. At Rowland High, teenagers enrolled in Careers with Children greatly outnumbers the enrollment at its on-campus Rainbow World preschool, so the younger children often enjoy better than one-on-one attention from their teenage “teachers.” Photo by Chris Sloan

Tenth-grader Ashley Medrano of Rowland High School helps Angelito decorate a pumpkin. Behind Ashley is professional teaching assistant Yolanda Walker, the head supervisor of Rainbow World Preschool, located on the campus of Rowland High. Second-year students in Careers with Children assist with supervision of the first-year “teachers.”  Because Careers with Children is a popular course at Rowland High School, the school has an instructional aide to supervise the preschool as well as a teacher to teach the course in a separate classroom. Having an aide gives both teens and preschoolers more instructional time. Photo by Chris Sloan

Joaquin, a student at Rainbow World Preschool on the campus of Rowland High School, works with Jennifer Anaya and two of her male classmates in Careers with Children. Men who can teach young children are in especially high demand, but Careers with Children and other courses in the Child Development and Education pathway will also prepare teens for careers such as secondary teacher, school principal and pediatrician. Photo by Chris Sloan


And so will other careers that involve working with children, such as pediatricians, nurses, social workers, counselors and recreation planners. Not to mention, in 10 years, most of California’s current teenagers will be parents themselves, interacting daily with children on a personal level.

Instruction offered through the Home Economics Careers and Technology (HECT) program in California schools is helping to fill that demand. Its graduates have hands-on experience teaching students from preschool through fellow high school students.

“Regardless of what field you’re considering, every student can benefit from at least one child development course,” said Janice DeBenedetti, state consultant to the HECT program. “It helps prepare them for many rewarding careers, and gives them an advantage if they become parents later in life.”

“Students learn techniques for working with children,” said Pat Hakim, who teaches Child Care Occupations at Rowland High School in Rowland Heights. “They also learn how to manage their careers, finances and education after they graduate.” The course is also known as “Careers with Children” at many schools throughout the state.

At most schools, ninth-graders who have any interest in taking any courses offered through their Home Economics Careers and Technology department begin with a course titled “Life Management.” Students interested in culinary arts, fashion or other courses their school offers in a Home Economics Careers and Technology program would also take this course.

In a “Life Management” course, students learn about many aspects of living independently, such as managing finances and credit, searching for employment, consumer studies, menu planning and dealing with conflict. Most “Life Management” courses also teach parenting skills.

From Life Management, the students can then move into one of the career pathways offered by the school’s Home Economics Careers and Technology department. A career pathway is a set of courses providing a student training in a specific career area.

Child Development and Education, as the career path focusing on education is known at most of these schools, is a lot more than playing with kids.  While high schools that offer this program usually have an on-campus preschool, experience in preparing and teaching lessons is only a portion of the training they receive.

The Child Development and Education career pathway typically starts with a course called Child Development. There’s a great deal of academic learning in this course as students will spend most of the first semester learning about pregnancy, childbirth and newborns, and all of the second semester learning about child development.

Child Development may also include other learning projects.  For instance, at Rowland High School, students spend several weeks preparing a report on the “Cost of a Baby,” after researching the costs of health care during pregnancy and childbirth, baby furniture and other supplies and clothes needed for mom and baby.

After the introductory courses, students who want to further study Child Development and Education can move into a course, usually known as Careers with Children, where they actually work with children. Students usually can take this course for two years, with increased responsibilities placed on the advanced students.

Typically, first-year students are charged with supervising the learning centers where preschoolers engage in their activities. Second-year students serve as supervisors to the first-year “teachers.”

“We observe and we help them out with whatever they need,” said Gabriela Huerta, a 12th-grader at Rowland High School in Rowland Heights. “We also give them suggestions on how to do things.”

Rowland has 158 students enrolled in its course where students work with children, and less than 20 in the preschool, so the teens are divided into two groups per period. Each group of teens spends every other day working with the younger children.

First-year students spend their alternate days learning more about child development and strategies for working with children. For instance, they will learn about the state standards governing what preschool students should learn to be well prepared for kindergarten.

This helps them to plan appropriate lessons, which is what the second-year students spend their non-teaching days doing. Lessons for preschoolers typically involve playing with toys, but the teens must select the toys and guide the younger students in using them with a specific teaching goal in mind.

“We have to make sure they know their numbers, their colors, their letters and their shapes,” said Gabriela’s second-year classmate Marlene Robles, as she watched a first-year student help a group of young children solve puzzles, handmade by the teens, that required placing certain colors and shapes in the correct spot on the puzzle mats.

Despite the budget cuts, Rowland has resources through the La Puente Valley Regional Occupations program to hire a teacher, Pat Hakim, and an instructional aide, Yolanda Walker. While Hakim provides instruction to half of the teens in her class, Walker provides the adult supervision necessary for both the other teens and the preschoolers.

 Not all schools can afford instructional aides for this course, so to allow time for high school students’ instruction, they reduce the preschool’s calendar to several days a week or less than a full school year.

Many schools, in addition to Life Management, Child Development and Careers with Children, add additional courses. One of these is “Parenting,” a course that would help any student who plans to someday become a parent, but gives special insight for those who want to make a career for working with children.

A “Child Psychology” course offered by some high schools gives high school students insight in how young children think and how to better relate to them, but also provides enough science instruction to fulfill a college preparation requirement of the University of California and California State university college systems.

That’s especially important for those seeking careers as teachers, or in other professions where they will work with children, but first must obtain a bachelor’s degree. 

Also, many high schools have worked out agreements with their local community college, allowing students who complete a second year of the “Careers with Children” course, complete with development of a portfolio, to also receive college credit.  In some cases, such as at Rowland High School, the training satisfies the community college certification program for teaching assistants.

The agreements also give students who wish to pursue careers as classroom teachers a head start on their college education. Preschool teachers usually must have an associate degree, and in some cases, a bachelor’s degree. The state of California requires most kindergarten through 12th grade teachers to complete a bachelor’s degree and one additional year of education courses, including student teaching.

College preparation is also important for the many students who take this course who are interested in children’s health care or counseling, as these professions require at least a post-secondary certificate, often a college degree, and for those interested in becoming pediatricians, post-graduate study at an accredited medical school.

 There are more than 750 schools offering the Home Economics Careers and Technology program in California, serving more than 300,000 students. Many of these also offer the co-curricular student leadership and career development program FHA-HERO. For more information, call State Consultant Janice DeBenedetti at (916) 323-5025.

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04.21.2009 CHEEF Comments Off on FHA-HERO LEADERS HONORED WITH SCHOLARSHIPS

FHA-HERO LEADERS HONORED WITH SCHOLARSHIPS

Carl Morrison, president of the California Home Economics Education Foundation, presents a $750 scholarship to Mayra Avelar. Photo by Carl Dameron


Carl Morrison, president of the California Home Economics Education Foundation, presents a $1,000 scholarship to Kristy Lynn Meade. Photo by Carl Dameron
James Oviatt, attractions supervisor at Disneyland and an active alumni of FHA-HERO, presents a $1,000 scholarship to outgoing State FHA-HERO President Emily Mastrolia. Photo by Carl Dameron


 (FRESNO, Calif.) Four members of FHA-HERO, including the 2008-2009 State President, received special honor as scholarship recipients during the State Leadership Meeting held recently in Fresno.

Outgoing State President Emily Mastrolia, a senior at Deer Valley High School in Antioch, received a $2,000 in scholarships. She received the $1,000 FHA-HERO Leadership Scholarship and one of two $1,000 State Officer scholarships.

Bridget Deaton, a senior at Bret Harte High School in Angels Camp and the outgoing State historian, received the other $1,000 State Officer scholarship.

Kristy Lynn Meade, a senior at Big Valley High School in Beiber, received a $1,000 Blake Kelley Memorial and Leadership Scholarship and Mayra Avelar, a senior at Edison High School in Fresno, received a $750 California Home Economics Education Foundation scholarship.

Emily said her two passions are helping others as a leader and designing things, such as fashion and interiors.

It was the design passion that led her to become involved in FHA-HERO, but her desire to help others that led her to leadership positions in the organization.

“I have had the opportunity as state president to help people learn and grow and most importantly, develop a passion for what they love,” she said. “I would not be the confident leader I am today without the help and training I have received through FHA-HERO.”

She plans to attend Brigham Young University – Idaho and obtain a degree in Interior Design.

Kristy served as FHA-HERO’s Region 2 Secretary during the 2008-2009 school year, and previously held several offices in the Big Valley chapter, including president. She plans to study Family and Consumer Science in college and to become a Home Economics Careers and Technology teacher.

Mayra, who served as vice president of the Edison chapter during 2008-2009 school year, also plans to become a Home Economics Careers and Technology teacher, with an emphasis on fashion courses. She has twice won awards at the state level in FHA-HERO’s Competitive Recognition Events for Fashion Design.

 There are more than 750 schools offering the Home Economics Careers and Technology program in California, serving more than 300,000 students. Many of these also offer the co-curricular student leadership and career development program FHA-HERO. For more information, call State Adviser Janice DeBenedetti at (916) 323-5025.

04.20.2009 CHEEF Comments Off on FHA-HERO Program Creates Leaders

FHA-HERO Program Creates Leaders

Emily Mastrolia, FHA-HERO State President for the 2008-2009 School Year, pins 2009-10 State President Cody Nore, as a symbol of the transfer of leadership. Although schools are still in session, FHA-HERO officers begin a new year during their State Leadership Meeting, which this year was held March 28-31.


(FRESNO, Calif.) FHA-HERO is turning out some of the state’s top young leaders.

One of these is Cody Nore of Oroville. This Las Plumas High School junior, recently elected as FHA-HERO’s state president, has already various leadership positions in FHA-HERO for the last four years.

It started in eighth grade, when he attended nearby Central Middle School. That year, he served as Central’s Chapter president.

“Once I became involved in leadership, FHA-HERO became something larger than myself,” he said. “It is an opportunity for me to help others achieve success.”

Cody continued in leadership as a Las Plumas ninth-grader by serving as the Region 2 Historian/Reporter for FHA-HERO. His job in that capacity was to compile information about the activities of all FHA-HERO chapters in the Northeast California area, and to help these chapters report to the public about their success.

In 10th grade, he served as the Region 2 President, presiding over region meetings and making sure all chapters had the tools they needed for success that year. As a region officer both of his first two years in high school, he also attended statewide meetings of the seven region officer teams to coordinate what schools in northern California were doing with that of the rest of the state.

And in 11th grade, he became the State Vice President of FHA-HERO. As a state officer, he led the coordination between regions.

Now, the 2008-09 State President, Emily Mastrolia, is about to graduate from high school and has passed the gavel to Cody.  Working with State Adviser Janice DeBenedetti, Cody will provide the overall direction of how FHA-HERO operates in the 2009-10 school year.

“There could not have been a better choice,” said Carl Morrison, president of the California Home Economics Education Foundation. “Cody’s leadership talent is beyond amazing. He gets along with everyone and is highly regarded. Yet he’s very humble and treats everyone like he’s one of them. And he’s willing to put the time in to represent FHA-HERO well.”

Morrison, whose daughter is a former state president of FHA-HERO, has been working with the organization for about 20 years. He sees that Cody’s four years of FHA-HERO leadership experience prior to his senior year of high school, coupled with the temperament of a great leader, will make him one of the state’s best officers in that time.

But, while they will be guided in the coming school year by a state president who is apparently exceptionally gifted with leadership ability, FHA-HERO has also already honed the leadership skills of the students who serve under him, from chapter officers to state vice president. The organization teaches all of them how to work in groups, make decisions as a team, get along with diverse coworkers and resolve conflicts peacefully.

“Serving as an officer was one of my most treasured experiences,” said Rowland High School senior Josh Cruz, who served as Secretary for Region 9 (Los Angeles and Orange counties.) “The team of officers came together like a family, even though we only saw each other about once a month.”

As Region 8 (Southern San Joaquin Valley) Vice President/Historian Nicole Smith learned a little about team-building when several of her fellow officers left the team early in the school year and were replaced by newcomers. She also learned this by giving presentations about FHA-HERO students in the Home Economics Careers and Technology courses throughout her region.

FHA-HERO is a co-curricular student organization for students who are enrolled or were previously enrolled in Home Economics Careers and Technology courses.

“I enjoyed teaching the new officers their duties and potential members about FHA-HERO,” she said.

Nicole actually plans to become a Home Economics Careers and Technology teacher, which will allow her to continue her passion for teaching others about the organization. And as a teacher, she plans to become involved in the Home Economics Teachers Association of California, the leadership organization for HECT teachers.

“I want to be on the state board so I can make sure this program does not go away,” she said. “It has helped so many students.”

FHA once was an acronym for Future Homemakers of America, and later became FHA-HERO to reflect its additional focus on Home Economics Related Occupations. It also has a focus on developing leadership and skills that will help people in any career they choose.

Some students, such as immediate past State President Emily Mastrolia, are passionate about FHA-HERO in a somewhat traditional way. Emily’s two passions are helping others as a leader and designing things, such as fashion and interiors.

It was the design passion that led her to become involved in FHA-HERO, but her desire to help others that led her to leadership positions in the organization.

“I have had the opportunity as state president to help people learn and grow and most importantly, develop a passion for what they love,” she said of her leadership experience.

 She plans to attend Brigham Young University – Idaho and obtain a degree in Interior Design. Fashion and Interior Design courses she took as part of the Home Economics Careers and Technology program at Deer Valley High School in Antioch have helped her to prepare for this college major.

Claudia Rodriguez, a 12th-grader at Las Plumas High School feels that way as well. Although she served as Region 2’s Chapter President in 2008-2009 and enjoys the leadership aspect of the program, her goal is to be a fashion designer.

“I knew FHA-HERO would help me in my goal,” she said.

 But FHA-HERO is so highly revered for its ability to develop leadership abilities, some students join FHA-HERO just for that reason alone. Cruz, for one, plans to attend University of Southern California and study science or medicine.

 “When I joined FHA-HERO, I saw how well it was preparing students for whatever they choose for their future,” he said.

There are more than 750 schools offering the Home Economics Careers and Technology program in California, serving more than 300,000 students. Many of these also offer the co-curricular student leadership and career development program FHA-HERO. For more information, call State Adviser Janice DeBenedetti at (916) 323-5025.

 

04.16.2009 CHEEF Comments Off on Culinary Arts Competition Gives Teens a Taste of Chef’s Work

Culinary Arts Competition Gives Teens a Taste of Chef’s Work


A ‘jaw-dropping’ wedding cake on display at the State Leadership Meeting after the Competitive Recognition Event state championships held Sunday,  March 31. Photo by Carl Dameron

(FRESNO, Calif.) At 5 a.m. Sunday morning, almost 80 young people woke up in their hotel rooms and quickly got ready to work. By 6 a.m., donned in chef’s clothes, they were in the Sequoia Room of the Fresno Radisson Hotel, quickly setting up culinary masterpieces.

Their appetizers, breads, cakes, pastries and more would be judged solely on how they looked. decoration. Tasting good, at least in this competition, was optional.

“There were some great projects” said Michael Green, a 12th-grader from Cesar Chavez High School in Delano, who created an artistic culinary display. “I mean jaw-dropping, I can’t believe they are edible projects.”

Green, like the other students competing in Culinary Arts, spent all day Sunday in this competition. Although they wouldn’t know for sure who won until Tuesday, the judges had promised them some constructive feedback at the end of their evaluation.

That was important to Green. He hopes to work as a professional chef at a Las Vegas casino someday.

After these 78 participating students set up their culinary masterpieces, they left. Some were expected to join later-rising classmates for breakfast.

For all dress check began promptly at 8 a.m. In this important part of the competition FHA-HERO advisers made sure their uniforms were close to perfect.

Other competitions were in such topics as commercial food preparation, fashion design, and energy conservation. In all there were 21 competitions, which FHA-HERO calls Competitive Recognition Events.

For the Culinary Arts competitors, after the formal dress check in Valdez Hall for all FHA-HERO members, it was back to the Sequoia Room for yet another dress check.

“Then we stood by our projects for three hours, answering any questions the judges had,” said Natalie Garcia, who also attends Cesar Chavez High School. “After that, we came back out here, where we have been for hours more.”

“I can understand why the judges are taking so long,” Green said. “It would be hard for them to pick a winner.”

Michael and Natalie passed the time by entertaining each other, but by late afternoon fellow Culinary Arts competitor Toni Long, who attends Cordova High School in Rancho Cordova,was exhausted. She was so tired, she wondered why she had ever agreed with her adviser Diane  Goldman’s request she take part in a Competitive Regional Event for the second year in a row.

“I have enjoyed the culinary academy at my school,” Toni said. “I always volunteered for things FHA-HERO activities, so that is why I wanted to compete last year. This year, Mrs. Goldman convinced me I should do so again.”

But this is it. Toni looks forward to graduating in June and attending community college in fall. She will decide on a career later.

“Culinary Arts won’t be part of that future,” she says. “But it has helped me with that future.”

Seeing how FHA-HERO connects with their future is exactly what Janice DeBenedetti, the state adviser for FHA-HERO wants Toni and thousands of other students in the organization to do.

“FHA-HERO prepares students for success in life” she said.

There are more than 750 schools offering the Home Economics Careers and Technology program in California, serving more than 300,000 students. Many of these also offer the co-curricular student leadership and career development program FHA-HERO. For more information, call State Adviser Janice DeBenedetti at (916) 323-5025.

 

 


04.16.2009 CHEEF Comments Off on FHA-HERO Brings California Teens Together

FHA-HERO Brings California Teens Together


Kirsten Stephen, dressed in her green alien costume, reads Aliens Like Underpants to preschoolers who attend the Hawk’s Nest Preschool, a preschool on the campus of Silverado High School in Victorville. Teens who work with Kirsten at the school also participated in the story time. Earlier, Kirsten who is an advanced student in the child development courses offered at Silverado High School, read the same book and gave a similar lesson to judges for FHA-HERO’s Child Development Competitive Recognition Event. Kirsten competed at the state level in this event, and while she did not win a trophy there, she gained the perhaps more valuable experience of meeting students from throughout the state with goals similar to hers.

(FRESNO, Calif.) Kirsten Stephan of Victorville and Rachel Peng of Millbrae didn’t know each other until the morning of Sunday, March 29. By the end of the day, the two 11th-graders were good friends.

A statewide competition in Child Development brought them together. The competition was one of many taking place in Fresno that day for FHA-HERO, a student co-curricular organization to which both girls belong.

Other competitions were in such topics as commercial food preparation, fashion design, and energy conservation. In all there were 20 competitions, which FHA-HERO calls Competitive Recognition Events.

Kirsten and Rachel competed in one of the more popular competitions. There were 28 other students involved in Child Development, and both of these girls were near the end. This left them the entire day to discuss their common experiences as high school students in FHA-HERO, and learn how, otherwise, their lives are quite different.

“I like meeting people and making new friends,” Kirsten said after the end of her competition. “After this week, I may not see Rachel again until next year’s State Leadership Meeting, but I’m looking forward to that already.”

“People from all over California are coming together and making friends,” Rachel said. “We may only have one connection, FHA-HERO, but we are all working towards the same goal and we are all learning together.”

Learning and working towards their future goals is exactly what Janice DeBenedetti, the state adviser for FHA-HERO wants Rachel, Kirsten and thousands of other students in the organization to do.

“FHA-HERO prepares students for success in life, both knowing how to work with others and learning specific skills they can use in a career,” she said.

Like many of the 400-plus students who were in Fresno for the competition and FHA-HERO’s State Leadership Meeting, the girls had traveled to Fresno the day before with their classmates. For Rachel, it was about a three hour drive from the Bay Area. For Kirsten, it was a five and a half hour drive from the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County.

That night they had stayed up late with friends, not just from their schools, but from their regions. FHA-HERO has previously given Rachel, a student at Mills High School, an opportunity to make friends with students from the Bay Area. As an FHA-HERO member at Silverado High School, Kirsten had previous opportunity to befriend students in this organization from throughout Southern California’s “Inland Empire.”

Sunday morning, they were up early. Dress check, where FHA-HERO advisers made sure their uniforms were close to perfect, began promptly at 8 a.m. This is where Kirsten and Rachel first met.

After dress check, the competitors walked from one part of the Fresno Convention Center to another, where two more FHA-HERO advisers went over the rules and procedures for the day. Judges were brought in, and students were then sent outside to wait their turn.

Around 10 a.m., one of the advisers called the first student in. While the rest waited outside, Student Number 1 gave her presentation.

In Child Development, the competition calls for students to give a dramatic presentation to young children that would help them learn. Up until several years ago, FHA-HERO brought in real children. For liability reasons, the competitors must now only pretend.

Most of the group, 29 teenage girls and one teenage boy, read children’s books for their presentation. A few of them made up their own stories or songs.

Kirsten was the very last student to give her presentation, and Rachel wasn’t far in front of her. This gave the two girls four or five hours to get to know each other.

Students usually decide in fall if they wish to participate in a Competitive Regional Event. They’ll need to spend the entire six months remaining to get ready if they want to do the best in the state. Both Rachel and Kirsten chose to compete in the Child Development event because they’re interested in teaching young children, and are reaching towards that goal by taking Child Development at their respective high schools.

In her course at Mills High School, Rachel learned there are statewide expectations as to what children will learn in school. That applies to high schools, where teachers in every subject must develop curriculums based on state standards. It also applies to preschools, where teachers plan lessons from the California Desired Preschool Results.

As if she were an actual preschool teacher, Rachel put together an entire day’s curriculum using the California Desired Preschool Results. She also listed the materials her “students” would use, and what she expected them to learn.

For the actual performance, Rachel made up and led her students in a song called “The Shape Song.” It was a little like Simon Says, but she’d brought colorful shapes for props and the song directed children to do things like “put your left hand on the yellow rectangle.”

Kirsten’s two Child Development courses give her first-hand knowledge of what working with young children is like. In one course, she works as a teacher’s aide in a first-grade class at Discovery School for the Arts Elementary School in Victorville. In another, she actually teaches preschool at Silverado’s own on-campus child care center.

From this experience, Kirsten knew that young children love aliens. She found a story titled Aliens Love Underpants, which is a fictional tale of an alien invasion of a family’s laundry while drying on their backyard clothesline.

To better convey the excitement of aliens landing in someone’s backyard, Kirsten dressed up as an alien, wearing lime green tights, a striped lime green and white shirt and grey shorts. She brought in “Marvin,” a loveable stuffed alien with three eyes and four arms, and read the story to him as well as to the “boys & girls” in her audience.

She also had a about a dozen brightly-colored paper aliens, each with anywhere from one to nine eyes. She led the children in counting the aliens’ eyes.

Winning trophies for their performance was not part of the overall experience for either of these girls. But it didn’t need to be.

“Winning isn’t the most important thing,” DeBenedetti told the students before the competitions had even begun. “The most important thing is that you enjoy and make the most of your time here.”

Kirsten and Rachel most certainly did.

There are more than 750 schools offering the Home Economics Careers and Technology program in California, serving more than 300,000 students. Many of these also offer the co-curricular student leadership and career development program FHA-HERO. For more information, call State Adviser Janice DeBenedetti at (916) 323-5025.

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04.13.2009 CHEEF Comments Off on FHA-HERO Pushes Teens to Excel

FHA-HERO Pushes Teens to Excel


State winners of the Consumer Education, Senior Division Competitive Recognition Event, smile as they accept trophies for their work. This was one of 20 competitions sponsored annually by FHA-HERO, each of which culminated with a state championship on March 29. These winners are Akyra Frisch, second place, Kern Valley High School in Lake Isabella; Katie Jones, first place, Los Molinos High School in Los Molinos and Pofun Wang, third place, Rowland High School in Rowland Heights. Pofun and others in her chapter, including her advisers, say that FHA-HERO pushes them to excel, both through these competitions and in other aspects of the co-curricular student organization, offered alongside the state’s Home Economics Careers and Technology courses.

(FRESNO, Calif.) “I love seeing a student who is shy in class come out of her shell and give a speech to a room full of strangers,” said Tracy Taylor, an advisor to Rowland High School’s FHA-HERO co-curricular student organization.

As she said this, Taylor smiled at her student, Pofun Wang. Pofun had earlier in the day taken part in the Senior Division Consumer Education competition, which required her to give a speech to three industry experts serving as judges, two FHA-HERO advisers who were running the competition and whom she had never met before, and others who were interested in what the students had to say.

“I was nervous,” Pofun said. “But I wanted to win.”

Two days later, Pofun smiled and accepted a third-place trophy for her effort. Her schoolmates Josh Cruz and Ujala Batool also received third-place trophies, as winners in the Prepared Speech and Job Application & Interview events. Joanna Guo, a ninth-grader at Rowland High School, took second place in the Junior Division of Menu Planning & Table Display.

Carnie Chung and Josh Huang, who attend Alvarado Intermediate School, took second in the Junior Division of Nutrition Education, rounding out the winning contingent from Rowland Heights at the Competitive Recognition Events state championship held in Fresno recently. This was part of the State Leadership Meeting, an annual leadership training event for members of FHA-HERO from throughout California.

There were other students from Rowland Heights who competed in the state championship. While they did not take home trophies, these students and others throughout the state have benefited from trying their best. So have the many students in FHA-HERO who did not compete, but who are active in the organization.

Taylor sees FHA-HERO helping her students in several ways. One is through the Competitive Recognition Events in which some of her students took part. Another is through the leadership experience more of her students gained at the State Leadership Meeting and by taking part in the Region 9 (Los Angeles/Orange County) meetings earlier in the year.

“They’re getting to meet many different people and build connections,” she said. “And in the competitions, it gives them a taste of their future. Now they know what they might face when they are older and looking for a job.”

A third benefit Taylor sees is building confidence in her students. At Rowland High School, some members already have a healthy dose of confidence, because they have taken part in FHA-HERO Competitive Recognition activities since they were seventh-graders at Alvarado Middle School.

Even if they have yet to bring home a trophy, they keep pushing forward. They hope that next year, they will do better.

“We like to compete,” said Rebecca Sun, a Rowland High School 10th-grader. “We like to win.”

Others, like Pofun, competed for the first time this year. Winning has certainly boosted her confidence.

This confidence is exactly what State FHA-HERO Adviser Janice DeBenedetti wants students in FHA-HERO to have.

“FHA-HERO builds confidence,” she said. “It prepares students for success in life, both knowing how to work with others and learning specific skills they can use in a career.”

There are more than 750 schools offering the Home Economics Careers and Technology program in California, serving more than 300,000 students. Many of these also offer the co-curricular student leadership and career development program FHA-HERO. For more information, call State Adviser Janice DeBenedetti at (916) 323-5025.

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03.12.2009 CHEEF Comments Off on TEEN CULINARIANS, DESIGNERS AND COMMUNITY EDUCATORS SHOWCASE THEIR TALENT AT FHA-HERO REGIONAL COMPETITIONS

TEEN CULINARIANS, DESIGNERS AND COMMUNITY EDUCATORS SHOWCASE THEIR TALENT AT FHA-HERO REGIONAL COMPETITIONS

Arturo Rodriguez, eighth-grader at Ruth O. Harris Middle School in Bloomington, tells judges what his dream bedroom would have looked like as a preteen, for a Competitive Recognition Event held by FHA-HERO at Ontario High School.  Arturo and many other students from throughout California now advance to a state championship Competitive Recognition Event in Fresno on March 29.

Even at the regional level, judges for FHA-HERO’s Competitive Recognition Events are among the top in the industry. At the regional held in Ontario, the Fashion Design judges included Sherry West, Director of Fashion for The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire, and Jessica Trujillo and Francheska Hughes, who are fashion design instructors at another university.

Travis Rothwell, a student at Sultana High School in Hesperia, competes in Commercial Food Preparation, a Competitive Recognition Event for FHA-HERO. Travis competed in a regional at Ontario High School, and advances to a state championship on March 29 in Fresno.
This cake was made and decorated by Randy Rodriguez of A.B. Miller  High School in Fontana for a Competitive Recognition Event regional competition in Ontario. He will create another one like it for the state competition on March 29 in Fresno.

(ONTARIO, Calif.) Nearly 900 of California’s most talented teenage culinarians, designers and community educators competed Saturday, Feb. 7 at seven high schools throughout the state.

The best of these will compete again on Sunday, March 29 when their school organization, FHA-HERO, hosts the state finals of Competitive Recognition Events as part of its State Leadership Meeting March 28-31 in Fresno.

The events in early February were the Competitive Recognition Events Regionals. These were held at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, Westmoor High School in Daly City, San Juan High School in Citrus Heights, Buhach Colony High School in Atwater, Golden West High School in Visalia, Santee High School in Los Angeles and Ontario High School in Ontario.

Competitive Recognition Events showcase the talents middle and high school students have learned in their Home Economics Careers and Technology courses. FHA-HERO is a career technical student organization open to all who are or have been enrolled in a HECT course.

“Competitive Recognition Events showcase the development of the participants’ career skills,” said April Rosendahl, who coordinated the FHA-HERO Region 10 Finals at Ontario High School, and who teaches HECT courses at Chino High School. “Students enrolled in HECT courses and pathways are developing professional skills for their future as well as skills for living.”

There are 21 competitions within the Competitive Recognition Events. These include commercial food preparation, six categories of culinary art, salad preparation, apparel construction, fashion design, interior design, child development, public speaking and more.

In the Interior Design competition at Ontario High School, college instructors serving as judges were impressed to see middle school students using Auto-CAD (Computer Aided Design) software to create their entries. Auto-CAD is a program a least one of those colleges teaches its third-quarter students.

But for the young teens who did this, learning Auto-CAD from family members was just one of the many ways they have enriched their lives through learning. To create entries that showed the judges their concepts of an ideal room for a pre-teen child, the students also relied on freehand drawing, math and public speaking to create entries that included display boards, cost and materials analyses and five-minute speeches.

“It was fun,” said Arturo Rodriguez, an Interior Design competitor and eighth-grader at Ruth O. Harris Middle School in Bloomington. “I designed the room I would have wanted at that age.”

Rodriguez, like many of the competitors, started work on his presentation months in advance. FHA-HERO members learned the theme in October, he said, so he began designing the bedroom shortly after that.

Students in the Commercial Food Preparation competition had to rely on only one skill – cooking. Their competition required them to prepare pork chops, cabbage, salad and a fruit compote within a time limit of less than two hours.

“We assume they learned how to cook this recipe in school already,” said Ontario judge Eyad Joseph, academic director of the International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. “And, hopefully, they have been practicing all year.”

As high school juniors and seniors, most of the students taking part in the commercial food preparation competition have been studying cooking for at least three or four years. Many of these students dream of careers in the culinary industry, which is exactly for what an advanced high school cooking course is designed to prepare them.

“I’ve always loved cooking,” said Commercial Food Preparation competitor Spencer Horton, an 11th-grader at Silverado High School in Victorville. “It is something I would like to get into as a career, and this competition gives me an idea of what it’s like to work in a restaurant.”

Another 11th-grader, Angie Mungia of Chino High School, hopes to open her own bakery after high school. With that focus, she has been involved in FHA-HERO for two years, and competed both times in the culinary arts categories of the Competitive Recognition Events. She always gives herself an extra challenge – whatever she makes complies with her strict vegan diet.

Last year, as a 10th-grader and first-year FHA-HERO member, Mungia won second place at the state Competitive Recognition Events for a display of vegan breads. This year, she instead made a vegan patisserie (pastry) display.

“It was much harder to make than the bread,” she said. “And I am working now, so I had less time to prepare. I took the last two weeks off work to get ready for this. I wanted to do so much more, but school got in the way.”

Her dedication paid off. She not only won her Region 10 competition and will head again to the state level, she also won the “Best of Show” award, given the best entry in all six of the Culinary Arts categories.

The “Best of Show” award was especially gratifying, as before it was announced, Mungia started to walk away with her first place medal. Then upon hearing her name again, she turned around and pumped her fist into the air. Many other teenagers who won their events displayed similar emotion. Some hadn’t expected to win anything.

At the regional level, three winners in each competition receive a first, second or third place medal. Two others per competition receive “honorable mention,” which gives them the right to travel with the place winners to the state level event.

At the state level, more medals are in store for the top three winners. But these students will also receive prizes, including kitchen knives, chef’s jackets, sewing machines and scholarships to some of the top schools in the culinary and fashion industries.

A first-place win at the state level allows a competitor to further advance to a national FHA-HERO competition. However, these are held in summer and often on the east coast, so for most west coast FHA-HERO members, participation in the State Leadership Meeting will be a highlight of the year.

The program now known as HECT has undergone a transformation over the last 40 years. Prior to the 1960s, the program focused on training women in skills they would need as wives and mothers. But, as more women began working outside the home, California changed its home economics curriculum to reflect this, and added the career component.

As all professions, including those in home economics related industries became more dependent on technology, so did the courses offered in secondary schools. To reflect this change, California renamed its home economics program Home Economics Careers and Technology in the 1990s.

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NOTE: A list of winners, including awards earned, is available on request for the competitions held in Chico, Citrus Heights and Daly City. All students earning first through fifth place advance to the state finals. For the competitions held in Atwater, Visalia, Los Angeles and Ontario, a list of students advancing to the state finals is available on request.

03.05.2009 CHEEF Comments Off on Communicating with Legislators for Educators

Communicating with Legislators for Educators

Carl Dameron, center, has forged relationships with his local Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter, with Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and with many other elected officials. He will tell educators why these relationships are important and how to develop them when he speaks to members of the Home Economics Teachers Association of California, Region 10 on Saturday, March 7 in Temecula.

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif) – Public relations professional Carl Dameron, founder and creative director of Dameron Communications, will discuss “The Importance of Communication With Legislators” at a meeting of Home Economics Teachers Association of California, Region 10 on Saturday, March 7.

This presentation and lunch meeting takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Carol’s Restaurant at the Bailey Vineyard & Winery in Temecula. It is open to members of Home Economics Teachers Association of California and their guests.

Dameron Communications is the public relations agency for the California Home Economics Education Foundation, which supports Home Economics Careers and Technology, a statewide educational elective program focusing on preparing students for home economics and technology related careers. The Association members participating in this Region 10 meeting teach this program in middle and high schools in Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Imperial counties.

“I want to help these educators communicate to their elected officials how important Home Economics Careers and Technology training programs are to California high school students,” Dameron said. “These programs build teens’ skills so effectively they could begin working in a good paying field immediately after graduation, or they could be admitted to a college or university that will further prepare them for some of the most lucrative, interesting and high-demand careers anyone could have.”

After it began working with California Home Economics Education Foundation in 2008, one of Dameron Communication’s first projects was to build state legislative support for filling an already funded advisor position, allowing the program to hire an adviser to work from Los Angeles, primarily with schools in southern California. This effort also increased state and local legislators’ awareness of the program.

California Home Economics Education Foundation is a privately funded organization, which supports Home Economics Careers and Technology. This program offers training in Food Service & Hospitality; Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation; Food Science, Dietetics & Nutrition; Fashion Design, Manufacture & Merchandising; Interior Design, Furnishings & Maintenance; Child Development & Education; Consumer Services and Consumer & Family Education.

For more information about the California Home Economics Educational Foundation, call Carl Morrison at (760) 724-9580.

For more information about Home Economics Teachers Association of California, Region 10, call Louise Zaki at (951) 845-4575.

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