Changing Our World: Brenda Westall

The subject of home economics in today's high schools isn't "your mother's" home economics, to coin a phrase. In fact, Pittsburg home economics teacher Brenda Westall says, "Everything's changed, it doesn't even resemble the way it used to be."

Westall, a veteran teacher with 27 years of experience, 16 of them at Pittsburg, admits she's as much a mother to her students as their teacher. Westall teaches six different subjects under the banner of home economics and often she's teaching at least three of them at the same time.

Young, single mothers still in high school, are enrolled in parenting class, which not only helps them learn to care for their babies, but also gives them opportunities to improve their futures. In addition, there are textile classes, family living, foods and nutrition, classes for future teachers and the homebound pregnancy program.

Even though it's demanding work, Westall loves her job and her students. They love her, too, and say she's the best role model they could possible have. She's especially pleased that her students tend to go into professions that help others.

By helping her students help themselves and others, Brenda Westall is Changing Our World.

Joan Hallmark, reporting.