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Getting to Know You

Heather and Morgan DeJarnette with their 8 children: Griffin, Max, Lyla, Xander, Oonagh, Beck, Ember and Toby.

An Awesome School Environment

Hancock County High School Family and Consumer Science Teacher Heather DeJarnette is in her seventh year at HCHS. She teaches culinary arts, child development, and food and nutrition classes.

“I think that we have an awesome school environment at HCHS,” Heather said. “Everyone gets along and we are all focused on the same goal, and that is to help students be ready for life.

And, that’s everyone – the superintendent, the board members, the principal, the assistant principal, the teachers, all the staff; we all have that single goal. I think that’s what is needed to be successful.”

Heather grew up in Pellville, and is the daughter of Bill and the late Donna Vincent. She said her family enjoyed cooking and made most meals from scratch so she developed a love for cooking at an early age.

A Passion For Cooking

“Cooking has always been a huge part of my life and I’ve always loved it,” she said. “Growing up, we always prepared meals. I would go over to my grandma’s house and we’d make cookies, and she would have homemade pizzas for us. . .My mom made the best fried chicken.”

Heather said she’s always been really self-disciplined and self-driven, and attributes that to the excellent example that her family members set for her. “I’ve always been really close to my grandma and I feel like she’s always been there for me through everything,” she said. “My mom was the same but I just don’t have my mom anymore so now it’s my grandma and my aunt, Shirley Veach and Kim Payne. They are always by my side.

My grandma is probably the one that kind of started my interest in all of this because she taught me how to sew and cook. I spent a lot of my summers at her house when I was little because she babysat us. She’s been a huge influencer in my life. She’s awesome; She’s one of my most favorite people.”

Education

Heather started running track in the seventh grade at HCMS and continued through high school. She graduated from HCHS in 2002, and attended Murray State University for her first year and a half of college on a running scholarship.

She transferred to Western Kentucky University and earned her Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management and Dietetics in 2006, and then earned her teaching degree at WKU as well, in 2007. In addition to teaching, she serves as the Advisor of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Club at HCHS.

“Going through college,” she said, “I always enjoyed the cooking side of that and the nutritional part of the cooking and the hospitality; I took extra cooking classes with that major. When I graduated, I didn’t do my internship for the dietetics program. Instead, I stayed home with my kids for 10 years.”

Family

Heather and her husband, Morgan, are blessed with eight children: Griffin (17), Max (15), Lyla (14), Xander (12), Oonagh (10), Beck (8), Ember (5), and Toby (2).

She and Morgan are high school sweethearts. “We weren’t actually allowed to date when we started talking to each other,” she said, “we were 15. We started dating my sophomore year. We broke up our senior year and chose separate colleges. I started out at Murray and he went to WKU. I transferred to Western and then we got engaged and married in our senior year. We’ve been together ever since.”

Morgan is the son of Mark and the late Lori DeJarnette. He is a nurse at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. “We only moved away to go to college and then we moved back and both got jobs close,” Heather said. “We help with my husband’s family farm. The guys all help with cattle and hay. In the summers we do big gardens. We have a few goats, a few sheep and lots of chickens. We just started with goats last year.”

They are members at Pellville Baptist Church. She said they love going to Jelly Stone National Park near Bowling Green and staying in the cabins there, but mostly they like spending time together at home.

“I love cooking with my kids,” she said. “We like homemade pizza night. I think that’s one of their favorite nights. Sometimes I’ll let everyone make their own pizza. We’ll make little personal pan pizzas so they can put anything they want on it. And, sometimes we’ll just make 2 or 3 gigantic pizzas and all the kids like to help with that.

Cooking At Home

My hobby is cooking. We’re always cooking at home. My kids like to cook; There is always a mess in the kitchen. I also like to sew. I used to sew a lot. I don’t have time for it as much as I used to but maybe one day I will. I also really like to be outside in the summers and garden. I like to can. I like to make my own things and be self-sufficient.”

Heather had the opportunity to help with the building design and chose the professional appliances that are in the impressive kitchen at HCHS. It gives students the experience of cooking in a restaurant style kitchen, and is equipped to the hilt with a high-tech computerized combi-oven, huge gas stove, hibachi, tilting skillet, induction cook top, large soup kettle and fryer.

“More Like a Pathway…”

“When I started at HCHS,” she said, “they were kind of in a transition. It used to be called Home Ec. and we went from being life skills type to more career oriented so now it’s more like a pathway. I love being in the kitchen and cooking with the students; I absolutely LOVE it.

I always like trying new things. In 2020, I started doing sourdough bread which was a lot of fun. Last semester, the students and I made sourdough pizza dough/crust and cinnamon rolls. The cinnamon rolls were amazing. They had a maple cream cheese frosting on top. With the students that haven’t tried sourdough before, it’s hit or miss. It’s good because they get to try new things.

I do a canning unit, or a farm-to-table unit, when school starts because I always have leftover vegetables at the end of the summer. I take them to school and we use them. We made homemade spaghetti sauce with our fresh tomatoes. We cut the corn off the cob and processed it/froze it. We’ve done tomato juice, jams, apple sauce and apple butter. We also made crock pickles, the kind you ferment. They really enjoyed that. They were SO good.

Even if students aren’t interested in pursuing a career in culinary arts, this is still a good class to take because it is going to teach them some very needed life skills. They’re going to learn how to cook and do laundry, because we do our own laundry in here. They’re going to learn how to clean because we clean daily in here.

It’s things they’re going to need to know, and then while they’re learning all that they may find that they want to pursue a career in culinary. It might become something that they love. Students are always welcome. I love having a class full of students! They’re all my babies. It’s a lot of fun.”

By Jennifer Wimmer

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