Prenatal literacy comes to Ames High


Once upon a time, a young woman was studying English at ISU, and at the same time a young man was student teaching on the other side of the world, in Australia. This young woman was told by many a trustable friend that this man, when he comes back from Australia, will be the perfect match for her. The young woman, who had grown up in small-town Iowa, was very skeptical. Time passed. Alas, the young man came back from his adventures and when they finally met, sparks flew, and the world became aglow. Meet the Engelki.

Mrs. and Mr. Engelkes, perhaps the most hip and charming English teacher couple in Ames, are settled down in Ames and having a baby. Besides planning on how much they are going to embarrass their child, the two are very much in the “pregnancy” stage, considering name ideas and politely rejecting some as well (such as “Boba Fett” and “Katniss”), for they are only at 16 weeks. Excitement is in the air.

Mrs. Engelkes teaches 9th grade and AI here at Ames High, and her husband teaches at the middle school. They are co-op members at Wheatsfield, they love eating at places like El Azteca and The Scallion (a Korean restaurant on campus), and the two have fond memories at Stomping Grounds, for Mr. Engelkes used to work there. The two have also been on many adventures.

“Mr. Engelkes and I taught for two years in Korea before we moved back to Ames…at an all-boys Korean middle school,” said Mrs. Engelkes, which explains her love for The Scallion.

Now, Mrs. Engelkes feels very fortunate that they live in Ames and will send their child to Ames High. However, this comes later: naming the child is something that has come up lately. Mrs. Engelkes said, “I am terrible with naming things for an English teacher.”

On January 2, 2014, which is when the baby will be at 20 weeks, they hopefully will find out whether it is a boy or a girl. In the meantime, they’ve received some serious name suggestions, some funny.

Mr. Ripley has suggested “Boba Fett,” but they were not a fan of that idea. When asked if they’d ever name the child after a character in a book, Mr. Engelkes said, “[Perhaps] a more classic book. Nothing like Katniss.” Other names from The Hunger Games are not making it into their top list, either.

“I’m really close with my great-grandma,” said Mrs. Engelkes. Her great-grandmother is named Helen Lucy. Mrs. Engelkes said, “She is 105; I love her a lot.”

“Lucy is cute though,” said Mr. Engelkes, whose full name is Charles William Engelkes the II, and mentioned the possibility of continuing the CWE initials. He added,“If anyone has any suggestions…”

And, Mrs. Engelkes said, when the time comes, “I have a feeling we’re really gonna embarrass our children.” As long as they don’t name is Boba Fett, everything will probably go down well.

But for now, it’s just the two of them, teaching English happily, eating at The Scallion to bring back fond memories of Korea, and buying things from Wheatsfield. They are enjoying life in Ames, and waiting for their little one to come into the world.