#1Student NWI: Family and Consumer Sciences are back at Hebron HighSchool

#1Student NWI: Family and Consumer Sciences are back at Hebron HighSchool


Wandering around the halls of Hebron High School (HHS) this August, students discovered that there were once again classes in a room that was left empty the previous school year. A returning elective is on students’ schedules this fall – Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) classes.

FACS, a category of classes that teach life skills that will benefit students as they become adults and grow independent, is comparable to Home Economics. They were missing from students’ schedules last year because HHS’s FACS teacher, Katelyn Propper, had left following the 2020-2021 school year, and with no one to replace her, the FACS department was shuttered and the opportunity for students lost. In a twist of good news, Propper decided to return to HHS this year, stating, “I missed the Hebron community and the support it offers the most,” and re-establishing the department.

Mrs. Propper is loved by students, many of whom are overjoyed to have this spectacular teacher back in the building. Junior Natasha Kennedy stated, “I am excited that [Propper] is back because last year I didn’t [get the] opportunity to take one of her classes, and next year I will.”

A plethora of life skills are taught in the FACS program, all of which are an asset to HHS’s class offerings. Most FACS classes are not run as a traditional classroom, most of Propper’s classes use hands-on projects regularly, such as various research presentations or creating models to display the stages of a process. Propper stated that “[Career and Technical Education] tends to lend itself to hands-on learning. Some classes lend themselves more, but I enjoy having my classes do projects, so I try to incorporate more in my lesson plans.”

Child Development, a course that educates students about family structures, pregnancy and fetal development, and how to care for an infant, is an incredible course for any adolescent who plans to become a parent. From practicing how to swaddle a baby to the infamous baby project, where students take home a realistic and computerized doll to simulate having an infant to take care of, the class is a staple to teaching basic parenting skills. Senior Kylie Cole, who took Child Development in the 2020-2021 school year, stated, “I am so glad I took Child Development because it [helped] teach me ways to take care of a baby. [Additionally,] the robotic babies taught me how hard it was to take care of a child.”

Culinary Arts, which teaches students the essential skill of cooking, is not a class that any student can say is a waste of time. Propper teaches an advanced class, her culinary class does not cook just basic things. Her students will tackle complex items such as spaghetti squash pizza bowls and has a cultural project where students cook a dish from a different country. In past years, the projects have included chicken curry, potato pancakes, and churros.

Students can also elect to take Interior Design, specializing in studying further appropriate, and tasteful, arrangements for living spaces. While it may not seem like it would provide the most applied skills, it is an amazing course for choosing proper decor for a room. The entire process of building a home, including how to read floorplans and blueprints, as well as how to decorate a space, and which textiles will be better for specific spaces, are what Propper covers within the class. When students are given creative freedom to design their model home as they please, there is also the lesson that they will be given the freedom to decorate their future living space to their own taste as well. HHS Class of 2022 Alumni Hope Slusser, who took Interior Design in the 2019-2020 school said, “Interior Design was a wonderful class. I learned a lot about how to place the furniture for foot traffic and the use of symbols in design drawings. It was a great elective. I really had fun and enjoyed the class.”

Propper also has a Fashion and Textiles course, where her class studies fashion trends, styling, and what clothing is composed of. While it may not market to every student, the lessons prove valuable to the student who may go into a fashion career or is interested in proper styling. Senior Ariana Oseguera, who is in the course this year, said she wanted to take the class because “she really enjoys styling and wanted to learn more about the fashion industry.”


Propper will be sponsoring a Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter at HHS this school year.

· A Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) based on FACS Education; this will give the students of HHS another opportunity to expand their horizons of FACS education.

· The purpose of this organization is to provide student members with the opportunity to compete in events within the consumer science field. There is also a factor of the organization that allows for community outreach as well.

Propper has wanted to start a chapter as long as she has been at HHS but had previously found reasons to avoid doing so, including adapting to motherhood, until now. Propper’s hope for her infant FCCLA chapter this year is that there is considerable interest within the student population and that she has successful students at the state-level conference.

HHS has had another CTSO, Business Professionals of America (BPA), as an offering for many years now, and it has become a well-established chapter. While there will be inevitable competition between the two CTSO’s for members, there will also be many opportunities for collaboration between the two. Propper stated the competition is not intentional, it’s just a consequence due to a limited amount of student availability. She hopes students will find benefits to joining both chapters.


Teacher Katelyn Propper recently started her seventh year teaching and has been at HHS for five of those years. As the sole teacher of the FACS department at Hebron, she takes on plenty of responsibility in fostering life skills in the students of HHS.

As the entirety of HHS’s FACS department, Propper does run into a few struggles. She finds mixing things up as her biggest challenge, as she wishes for class to be fun and exciting but can sometimes get burnt out on finding new ways to present classroom content. She also finds challenges in how to present content while keeping up with the latest trends. Propper finds it helpful to have a second person, a colleague in the FACS department, to bounce ideas off. Then, together, they can collaborate to find engaging ways to cover lessons.

Propper, of course, has her favorite courses to teach. She stated her favorites were Child Development as well as Fashion and Textiles, each with their unique reasoning.

What excites her most about Child Development is her excitement for lecturing about the human body and the amazing way it develops. She has a particular interest in the human body, the things it can do during pregnancy and the marvelous way children learn and develop. Propper also appreciates that she can share stories about her son in the class to use as examples and that all the students would have previous experiences that they can connect to the lesson.

Propper’s excitement for Fashion and Textiles stems from that the class directly relates to what she likes to do as a hobby. As someone who enjoys crocheting in her free time, the class does not feel like work, but more fun, and it shows in her passion in the classroom. Propper comes up with constant ideas for the course and loves the creative freedom the course has to offer.

But, with a non-core class category, there are of course limitations. There is a shortage of FACS teachers, so even if a school wants to have this CTE department, they may not be able to find a professional to run the program. This is just one-way students lose out.

FACS classes aren’t required either, so the at-home skills may not be taught to some adolescents. With both parents having to work to support a household, a school may be the only opportunity to learn some of these skills that are passed down from generation to generation, and without these classes, these skills could whittle out and be lost. But when a school does not have or support a FACS program, these students may not learn some more intermediate, but necessary skills.

When CTE programs aren’t supported, it limits what the teachers can do, and it comes back to the students having the biggest loss. There are plenty of students who want to learn FACS, but they are unable due to limitations.

Propper is fortunate and appreciative that Hebron Schools financially supports him, but also sees the value CTE has to offer. Propper said, “Hebron does a nice job supporting the CTE programs, which is not always the case with other schools.” Propper went on to say that while CTEs count as elective credits, other schools view the classes as less than core classes. The classes do have real-world applications, so it breaks her heart to know that her domain is often disregarded in other communities. When CTE programs are supported nicely, it provides more personal growth opportunities for students.


Nile Olsen, a Senior at HHS, is also a student in the Culinary Arts Vocational Program. Olsen has attended Hebron Schools since Kindergarten and plans to attend college locally after high school with the intent of becoming an Ultrasound Technician.

Olsen decided to attend the Culinary Arts Vocational because the art of cooking piqued her interest from a young age. Olsen was always intrigued by watching cooking programs on television in her childhood and it has always been something she has been fascinated by. Olsen stated, “I love baking and cooking [food] from scratch, so I thought this program would help me learn more about how to do those things.” Being in the Culinary Arts Vocational has been a valuable experience for her and it has not been time wasted. Olsen also stated, “taking the Culinary Arts [Vocational] was the best decision I made for myself. [The course] has shown me so much about food, and I’ve learned beyond more than just how to make food, which I was not expecting going into the program, but I am thankful I have. I will use these skills [for] the rest of my life.”

When asked if Olsen herself thinks a cooking class should be a required course in a student’s education, she agreed. Olsen expanded on her opinion, discussing how cooking is a crucial life skill and that it is important to know how to keep food safe by cooking it properly and storing it properly. Olsen made the statement, “[One] cannot rely on fast food for every meal, every day. Everyone should know how to make a meal, even if it is something small and easy,” which is very true. Cooking one’s meals helps to save on food expenses, it is better for one’s health, and it gives the cook a sense of accomplishment for cooking an appetizing and healthy meal.

Per Career and Technical Education, Olsen finds the category of classes valuable and important for adolescents. She stated, “[CTEs] are free courses that [students] can take to jump-start into the career that they would want to do for the rest of their life. Even if the course [they] are taking isn’t what [they] want to do for a living, it will still be beneficial in life.” Her stance on CTE shows that it's not just adults that know CTE is valuable for the youth, student know this as well. Olsen said taking CTEs and getting credit for them is great for the double benefit of the student. Olsen also proves her standpoint as she is in a vocational that does not necessarily relate to her career plan.