2010 Tech Prep Teacher of the Year
Sylvia Hughes, Family and Consumer Science Teacher at San Benito High School, is the Tech Prep Teacher of the Year.
Sylvia Hughes never expected to go to college, but she managed to do so with the aid of scholarships, grants, and family encouragement. She chose to major in Family and Consumer Science because she believed everything about the subject was relevant to real life.
“I’ve always felt that if we can create good strong families it helps to make stronger communities,” said Hughes, who is in her 37th year as an educator. Every course that she teaches—Child Development, Child Guidance and Parenting-- encourages her students to become productive citizens and work to improve the world, to create strong, loving families and strengthen their community.
Hughes keeps her students engaged with projects and simulations that enhance their learning and at the same time show them how their lessons are applied in the workplace. She frequently brings in speakers from the hospitals, the Family Crisis Center, Child Protective Services, and Maggie’s House, as well as the director of the on-campus Daycare Center.
“I try to get as many people as I can to let the class know about all the different aspects of family education. Every year I cover child abuse and neglect,” Hughes said. She believes it is important to raise students’ awareness of child abuse and the fact that it can be prevented.
Hughes emphasizes the relevance of what is learned in class. In January, her Child Guidance students begin volunteering three times a week with Head Start, gaining community service hours and valuable experience. Students interested in going into education get a broad exposure to what being a teacher is all about. Other classes take on projects to replenish supplies for Maggie’s House and the Rainbow Room.
Hughes teaches Tech Prep articulated course in Child Guidance that confers college credits on students who successfully complete the course. Besides adding an element of challenge to the curriculum, the articulation confirms the relevance of high school courses for college study. It also gives students a head start of their own on a college degree.
One of Hughes’ former child guidance students has returned to her old classroom as substitute teacher, Hughes said. “I run into students all the time and see them using the things they’ve learned.”
Sylvia Hughes and her fellow teachers sponsor the San Benito High School student organization Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. Those students have become involved in their community by supporting the local Food Bank and becoming angels by adopting two children from the Salvation Army Tree to buy gifts for. The students have received a first place in leadership.
Hughes is also a senior sponsor and works with students to develop a memorable graduation night.