The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

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Cooking Up A Career

Mary Todoric
Mrs. Patterson helps Anna Mackey with a sewing project.

In less than a year from now, consumer education teacher Monica Patterson pictures herself kayaking down a river, walking a path at a forest preserve, or traveling to New England. She’ll be outside enjoying the fresh air and staying fit. Until then, Mrs. Patterson will be savoring her last few weeks teaching at Libertyville High School.

After 34 years of passion and dedication to the Consumer and Family Science Department, Mrs. Patterson is retiring.

“I really didn’t want to retire this early, but then my husband retired from here [Libertyville High School] four years ago. I figured I better catch up with him because otherwise I wouldn’t be doing all the fun things he’s doing,” said Mrs. Patterson.

Her husband, Dan Patterson, retired after 33 years as the Fine Arts Supervisor at LHS. Monica and Dan met at Libertyville High School in 1982 when a group of teachers went to Oktoberfest, and it all came together after that.

Mrs. Patterson knew she wanted to teach at a young age. At first, she thought she would become an English teacher, but she later found her true calling when her guidance counselor asked what subjects interested her the most. Mrs. Patterson realized she was happiest in the Consumer and Family Science Department.

“I get to be in the sewing room or the foods room cooking. Everybody is learning how to do something, and I’m just pushing that forward and giving them the skills. Literally being an elective teacher has been very fun,” said Mrs. Patterson as she twirled a sewing pin in her hand.

Mrs. Patterson is very passionate about her subjects, always encouraging positive attitudes and hard work. She teaches students valuable skills, like sewing and cooking, which can be used throughout one’s life, but the way she treats her students is what’s truly unsurpassable.

“She is positive and she really cares about kids. I think when you have that component, it doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are, kids know when they feel cared about. They want to be in your class when you create a really comfortable, positive atmosphere and they’re going to be willing to keep taking your classes,” said co-worker and good friend Kathryn Hyla.

Many of Mrs. Patterson’s students compete in Family Career and Community Leaders of America in categories such as Preschool Child Development, Speciality Foods, and Clothing and Retailing. Her students have placed very well the last couple of years, some even receiving most outstanding in the State of Illinois.

“At the beginning of last year, I didn’t know how to sew anything at all and by April, she took me to state and I placed second,” said junior Amy Flanagan, a student in Mrs. Patterson’s Clothing Construction class.

Mrs. Patterson inspires all of her students to continue their passions after high school. Many of them fulfil their dreams as pastry chefs or fashion designers, she said, all with her help.

“To see them getting to be an adult and knowing they sparked that interest here [is rewarding]. I love, love, love that,” said Mrs. Patterson.

I just want to make kids feel like they have a special place for that one hour where they’re in my class because if you’re gonna be a teacher, you have to care about the whole student, not just their grade, ”

Mrs. Patterson shaped the Consumer and Family Science Department into what it is today. She has mentored numerous teachers in her department and even plans fun events for her co-workers.

“She has been the staple of our department, the yoda, the family stone. Everybody goes to her when we have a question or a concern,” said Ms. Hyla.

Mrs. Patterson stresses to her mentees that the main reason why they should become a teacher is for the kids; everything else is just fluff. Mrs. Patterson knows how to engage her students and always puts them first, before grades.

After three decades of teaching, Mrs. Patterson will not only be missed, but forever remembered as a talented and loving consumer education teacher.

Sophomore Halle Imm, whose mom also had Mrs. Patterson, said “I would recommend this class to anyone. I’m really sad she’s leaving because people will not be able to have such a wonderful teacher next year.”

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The student news publication of Libertyville High School
Cooking Up A Career