By Will McClure
With almost any new school year, there comes change; and with that change comes new faces. This is especially true with Stamford High School this year, particularly that of FCCLA with the arrival of new teacher, Mrs. Cherry Pittcock. With a degree in Family Consumer Sciences from Texas Tech, Pittcock is excited to take over the FCCLA program at SHS and, in essence, "rebuild" the program back to where the classes can build leadership, give the students new opportunities, and even provide service to the Stamford community.
Originally from Guthrie, Texas, Pittcock said that family consumer sciences has been her love since she was in school, stating that she was really excited when the teaching position opened at Stamford which allowed her to go back to teaching family consumer sciences, something she had not been able to do for several years. Along with teaching family consumer sciences, Pittcock has also taught in fourth and fifth grade, high school English and eighth grade History in Paint Creek and Aspermont before getting the chance to go back to family consumer sciences this year.
When asked how her first few weeks have been, Pittcock said that she loves it thus far, stating that the students have been really excited, respectful and willing to learn. She also stated that many students are willing to “step outside the box” with their learning, mentioning how in one lesson the students participated in skits and puppet shows to really engage with the content, something that is not always easy to do. Pittcock went on to state that the students have begun work on FCCLA in all of her classes, as all students in these classes are a part of the FCCLA program, electing class officers, spending the last two weeks learning about the program and its opportunities and working on building the program back up.
When it comes to a love for family consumer sciences, Pittcock stated that she has a real passion for it, with that passion becoming a kind of family tradition, with her two daughters following in her footsteps in going to Texas Tech. Her oldest daughter recently received her Master’s degree from Texas Tech and has begun her career as an extension agent for Hood County on the family consumer sciences side while her other daughter is still attending Texas Tech, majoring in retail management and currently on an internship in Colorado Springs, Colorado, while also taking her classes online and is expected to complete her internship in October. Pittcock also mentioned that her mother also graduated from Texas Tech and had spent 30 years teaching in family consumer sciences as well before recently retiring.
When asked what her biggest challenges have been in her career, Pittcock said that changes in technology as well as the changes in testing have always been challenges to overcome. However, Pittcock said that she always tends to look at the positives when it comes to challenges such as these, saying that one can grow with change as well as keeping things fresh in the classroom as well as in teaching style, stating that is how you are able to grow over the years. One significant challenge Pittcock has had to face this year is coming back to teach family consumer sciences after many years, thus having to learn to adapt to changes in curriculum as well as FCCLA.
“It's almost like being a first year teacher again," Pittcock said, "because just catching up and just getting back into each area. I've got five different preps for five different courses to teach so that's challenging and it's time-consuming and so I'm spending a lot more time preparing than I probably have in recent years teaching. But it's still rewarding especially when the kids get excited about a lesson or you can tell that they are getting something out of it."
When asked what some of her goals were at Stamford, Pittcock said that her primary goal is to rebuild Stamford's FCCLA program back to the point when former teacher Tanya Holloway ran the program. Pittcock mentioned that she had worked with Holloway in the past and knew of her passion and excitement for the program, which spread to the students throughout her years at Stamford. With the program falling short in recent years, Pittcock said that she really wants to bring FCCLA back to that level and get the students involved and give them a place to excel while also giving them a purpose and building leadership. Pittcock mentioned that the program has already begun preparations to provide service to the community including trying to provide the Rotary Club meals again as well as sponsor the hospitality room for the upcoming TFA Speech Tournament on September 24, hoping to continue to instill the values that it is always better to give than to receive.
Over the last few weeks, Pittcock said that the students have been very welcoming and excited for the class, stating that they have been nothing short of respectful and energetic. This welcoming nature has spread to the administration as everyone has been amazing to her thus far, stating that it could be really easy to be forgotten in the Ag building, but that has not been an issue at all. Pittcock concluded by stating that the people of Stamford have been very appreciative of her, especially driving from Aspermont on a daily basis to help get the program back up. She even said that she was surprised that she had already known many people in town, mentioning having worked with Mindy West and Jewelee Kuenstler on a history grant, as well as having taught with Theasa Lefevre in Paint Creek where Pittcock was her mentor. She also mentioned that she had previously taught the parents of several of her students as well while at Paint Creek, stating that has been kind of special in a way.
And so, as the year moves on, Cherry Pittcock is looking forward to meeting more people in Stamford and continuing to get involved in the community through FCCLA. At the end of the day, however, Pittcock states that it is really all about the kids and that is what really counts in the long run. Welcome to SHS, Mrs. Pittcock!