New Opportunities at Knox County
By: Dylan J. Powers
When students returned to school this past fall, some noticed a new set of classes and a new teacher on the schedules. Mrs. Keli Huchteman, who was previously a teacher at Highland High School, had decided to become an Eagle and start working at Knox County High School. On August 24, she had her first day of classes and officially began her journey at Knox teaching Career and Technical Education Classes from room 202 in the right-wing in the high school.
“Career and Technical Education classes are preparing you for a career in some kind of technical pathway,” she said. “So FACS is a career pathway, as is business, industrial arts, Ag, and so on.” The overall goal for this new set of classes is to prepare the students for real-life and show them new potential careers they would never have thought of previously.
Mrs. Huchteman starts her day teaching Nutrition/Wellness. Although she says she covers nutritional health the most, she also covers mental and social health. Students learn the six types of nutrients, what foods you should and should not be eating, and how to make the right choices. After that, she has Child Development. In this class, they discuss topics such as conception, the stages of pregnancy, issues and illnesses with pregnancy in general, and the development of school-age children. They even talk about the importance of social, emotional, and physical health in children.
When third hour hits, she gets seventh-and-eighth grade students in FACS class. In this class, they learn a unit involving each of the classes Mrs. Huchteman teaches on the high school level. It’s the middle schooler’s introduction to this sort of class, and it helps them see what they want to try. Once the middle schoolers leave, she teaches Fashion Fundamentals/Interior Design. The point of this is to teach students about the basics of fashion, how clothes go from cotton plants to t-shirts, the process of designing them, and how the industry works. Interior Design is supposed to show the students taking it how to build designs of all sorts effectively. Mrs. Huchteman shows them the fundamentals of a room, the elements of design, the importance of flow and colors, and the basics of designing, remodeling, building, and more.
Fifth hour goes in a completely different direction with her Foods class. She teaches students how to cook effectively, and shows them how to make things more complex than the basics. Her ultimate goal is to introduce her students to new foods that they aren’t used to eating. In Apparel Construction, her class after Foods, the people who decided on that class are learning how to sew and make different types of garments.
Nutrition/Wellness was only a semester-long class, so Mrs. Huchteman decided to start a class called School Store.
“We are designing, printing, and creating our own products. Whether that be t-shirts, blankets, cups, earrings- basically, if you can name it, they can make it,” says Mrs. Huchteman. They will sell these items and use the profit to self-sustain themselves. In theory, this should allow the store to keep paying for itself.
She does her best to ensure every class has at least one big project. Nutrition/Wellness did a commercial to educate the students about the dangers of snack foods. They called it “Snack Attack.” Child Development did a simulation with fake babies to show her high schoolers what it’s like to care for an infant. Each quarter, her Seventh- and Eighth-Grade FACS classes have been making things for the elementary students. They do this every quarter; they made personalized monster dolls and cookies, and this last quarter they made “stuffies” for kindergarten and first grade. What that means is the class has been drawing their own picture and getting a hand-sewn doll back. Foods class also contributes to these, as well as making a Thanksgiving Dinner for themselves and the administration. Interior Design students used homestyler.com to make a detailed house, and they remodeled living rooms for teachers. Fashion students are going to make their own line of clothing. Lastly, Marilyn Mercer, the only student in Apparel Construction, is making her own prom dress.
Mrs. Huchteman is working really hard in these classes and she says she likes it at Knox. It looks like she has no plans on slowing down the impact she is making in the school. If anyone reading this is interested in taking any of her classes next year, talk to high school counselor Mrs. Parrish.