By CATHY MOUNCE, Register Staff Writer
MUENSTER — Home economics has come a long way since the days when most classes were made up exclusively of female students who learned cooking, sewing and childcare techniques.
Home economics now goes by the name “family and consumer science” and includes financial skills training and career preparation.
Muenster High School teacher Joni Sturm has observed the evolution of her teaching field and said despite the changes, she loves preparing her students for productive, successful lives.
After graduation from Muenster High School (MHS), Sturm earned a bachelor of science degree in home economics education and a secondary teaching certification in 1974 at the University of North Texas.
Sturm said her former MHS home economics teacher, Janie Weinzapfel, was her role model and inspiration.
“At the end of my senior year, Mrs. Weinzapfel asked me what I was going to do after school,” Sturm said. “She was very pleasantly surprised when I told her I wanted to be a home economics teacher.”
Sturm said teaching home economics was a good fit for her.
“I loved everything about home economics and was so fortunate to be able to come back to my alma mater and teach,” she said.
Sturm is teaching five classes this year including principles of human services which includes mental health, family relations, and career preparation for any human service type field; career portals in which students’ strengths and interests are explored; interpersonal studies covering family relationships, marriage and conflict resolution; nutrition class where students learn to plan a budget and make better food choices and child development which explores the dynamics of children from pregnancy onward.
Sturm married her high school sweetheart Michael Sturm 39 years ago and together, the couple raised three children — daughters, Amy and Kimberly and son, John.
All are MHS graduates. Kimberly has been a teacher and intervention specialist in the Austin area. Amy is a sports nutritionist working at the University of Texas in Austin.
Sturm enjoys jogging with her spaniel Chester, horseback riding and tooling around town in her Corvette.
Like any dedicated teacher, Sturm said her students’ successes bring her joy.
“I tell my students not be afraid to follow their dreams and to do what they love to do,” Sturm said. “Everything else will fall in place with hard work and time.”
Sturm is also the advisor for the MHS Family, Career and Community Leaders of America organization.
Formed in 1999, FCCLA is a nonprofit career and technical student organization open to both young men and women in grades seven through 12. The organization is active in both public and private schools. Involvement in FCCLA allows members opportunities to work on leadership potential. Members also learn to develop skills for life including planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision making and communications. These are all tools that will enhance the home and workplace environment in life after graduation.
The FCCLA mission statement is ‘To promote personal growth and leadership development through Family and Consumer Sciences education. Focusing on the multiple roles of family member, wage earner, and community leader, members develop skills for life through character development, creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, practical knowledge, and career preparation.’
Her work with FCCLA keeps Sturm busy. Next on her schedule is the 2013 Cooke County Youth Fair going on now through March 2. The event includes livestock exhibitions and judging and food and food textile contests.
“We have over 103 entries,” Sturm said. “We are so proud of our kids and of their accomplishments.”
The public is invited to check out all entries at the First State Bank Conference Center beginning Tuesday.