Inspired by her high school home economics teacher, Mary Lou Waitz has spent her entire career in the field. The first stop on her journey was Tehachapi Junior High School in California, where she served as a vocational home economics teacher. Ms. Waitz then joined the staff of Frederick Junior High School in Colorado as a vocational home economics teacher and Lyons Middle/Senior High School in Colorado as a home economics teacher. She retired from the latter in 1994.
The highlight of Ms. Waitz’s career was being able to teach students practical skills they could use in life. Her goal was to help them become functional, as both students and adults. This helped keep her pupils engaged with the material. In appreciation for her hard work and dedication, she was named Colorado Home Economics Teacher of the Year in 1980.
Ms. Waitz prepared for her endeavors by obtaining a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science from Colorado State University in 1962 and 1969, respectively. She also completed 60 hours of vocational home economics coursework beyond a graduate degree at the school. To help her keep in touch with her peers and any developments in the industry, Ms. Waitz became affiliated with a number of professional organizations. Some of these include the National Education Association, the Colorado Public School Health Association, the Colorado Education Association, the Colorado Association for Vocational Home Economics Teachers, the American Vocational Association, the Colorado Vocational Association and the American Home Economics Association.
When Ms. Waitz has free time, she enjoys crafting, reading, watching television and creating floral designs. She notably participated in “Art in Bloom,” an event sponsored by the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, in which she created displays and exhibits to complement artwork created by professional artists. She is also a floral design instructor and an accredited master judge for the National Garden Clubs. Her efforts led her to be named Washington State Gardener of the Year in 2016.