Carol VanWaardhuizen

Ezra Shirtcliff, Reporter/Editor

These are the final days for the amazing FCS teacher Carol VanWaardhuizen.

She hosted several clubs, co-wrote a book, and recently became a grandmother.

VanWaardhuizen began her career with food when she was a kid. Before she moved out of the house, VanWaardhuizen used to live on a dairy farm. The constant chores of everyday life on the farm were vigorous. “I grew up on a dairy farm, worked from 5 in the morning to 7 at night,” she said. “It was good training for adult life.”

After her childhood life on the farm, VanWaardhuizen left home and went to school at ISU. Later she became an Extension Home Economist near Fort Dodge. At Fort Dodge, Carol had her two daughters as well as made some life-long friends.

Shortly after her stay at Fort Dodge, VanWaardhuizen became Dean of Adult and Community Education at Iowa Central Community College. “Both my daughters were born [at Fort Dodge]. We still have friends there,” VanWaardhuizen said.Before teaching at Ames, VanWaardhuizen taught at Waterloo West and Walnut Ridge Baptist Academy. In that time she also co-wrote a book called The Healthy Holiday Cookbook.

“Every place I’ve taught has its common and unique kids. I have maybe taught the most kids here,” VanWaardhuizen said.

After teaching and learning at all those places, VanWaardhuizen moved to Ames and taught at the Ames Community School District for 13 years, 10 of which were at Ames High. At Ames, she has hosted dozens of clubs, such as SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), Gourmet Cooking Club, Dance Club, and Fashion Club.

At AHS, VanWaardhuizen has taught essentially all aspects of the FCS courses. Her famous Foods course teaches all grades essential knowledge on how to cook properly, whether that be how to brown meat or how to prevent food poisoning.

“The class teaches students how to cook and survive in adult life,” VanWaardhuizen said. “I like teaching it because it is very practical. 75% of jobs are in food service, and I thought it was important learning. I thought it was practical since you need to eat to survive.”

Throughout the Foods course, VanWaardhuizen teaches students the importance of decision making, preparation, and planning. Through making simple foods like pasta or pies, a student can learn that there is more to cooking than simply boiling Ramen. Any decision can affect the outcome, and even though it’s through cooking, a lesson is taught to students without being said.

“I think students will better choose an activity if they have the choice,” VanWaardhuizen said. “That’s why I think the Foods course is one of the better classes. When we bake pies, I allow for more than 9 different types of pies to be made.”

The Foods course isn’t the only FCS class that a student could have taken with Mrs. V. VanWaardhuizen also teaches child development. “I had a past student come up to me at Target. She waited six years to have a kid,” VanWaardhuizen said. By waiting, “she became a better mom and a happier family,” VanWaardhuizen continued.

VanWaardhuizen said that she was bummed about leaving the school but also excited to be with her granddaughter and her husband. She said she wants to be there for her great-niece’s graduation.

For her parting advice to students, VanWaardhuizen said: “The most important thing [for maintaining a healthy relationship] is to communicate, both telling and listening. Always stay young in your marriage, dates, and company. Children are important, but I still love my husband.”