Bill Gates is Served a Cooking Lesson by Family and Consumer Sciences Educator

NEW YORK CITY, NY (January 7, 2020) Today, nearly one third of Americans admit they cannot cook—including Bill Gates. Despite establishing the most successful computer software company, being recognized as the number one most admired man in the world for five years running, and the third richest man on earth, Gates said, “I never really learned how to cook. It just wasn’t something I was taught growing up.”

Gates agreed to a cooking lesson by Robert Hand, Washington State’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) educator at Mount Vernon High School. Before beginning the cooking demo, Gates warned Hand that cutting and cooking a chicken is something he has never done before and said, “I have to admit. You’ve got a very entry level student here.” Hand approached the opportunity to teach Gates how to cook a barbecue chicken the same way he does within his classroom; teaching practical lessons and aiding students in the development of real-world skills they will utilize throughout high school and beyond.

Throughout Hand’s six years as an FCS teacher, he has taught Beginning Foods, Life After High School, Careers in Education, Nutrition, and Leadership classes. Within the classroom, Hand prioritizes building relationships, teaching real-world skills, and challenging students. This is demonstrated through Hand’s desire to enable students to become high-level critical thinkers and equip them with essential life skills they need to meet family, career, and community challenges they will encounter during their adult life such as how to write a resume and cover letter, create a personal budget, get a car loan, practice interviewing for a job, preparing meals, and more.

In addition to Hand’s role as an FCS teacher, he serves as a Family, Career and Community Leaders (FCCLA) adviser. As a FCCLA adviser, Hand connects youth to FCCLA’s four Career Pathways: Hospitality and Tourism, Education and Training, Visual Arts and Design, and Human Services, which provides students the opportunity to explore careers prior to graduating high school. Hand also empowers students through FCCLA to become college- and career-ready by encouraging members to partake in FCCLA’s Competitive Events, become involved in community service projects, and attend FCCLA local, state, and national leadership conferences. As an FCS teacher and FCCLA adviser, Hand dedicates his time to improving students’ lives both in and out of the classroom because in his mind, “You are impacting young people and the future of our community and society. It’s exhausting, but it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”  

Hand was named the Regional Teacher of the Year by the Northwest Educational Service District 189, and was recently honored as the Washington State’s 2019 Teacher of the Year where he selected from a talented group of nine teacher nominees from Education Service Districts across Washington. He was also in the running for the 2019 National Teacher of the Year. Hand’s accomplishments recognize the value FCS teachers have on preparing today’s youth to lead successful lives after high school. FCCLA is proud of the impact Hand has had in promoting the work of FCS educators through his success.

To highlight the work of FCS educators like Hand, FCCLA invites you to join us and others across the United States on Family and Consumer Sciences Educator Day, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. FCS Educator Day is designed to encourage students to become FCS educators and to recognize and celebrate the important role that FCS educators play in our schools and communities. This day is set aside to honor and highlight the need for FCS educators to continue to prepare students with the essential skills that even Bill Gates needed to learn from an FCS educator.

After Gates’ cooking lesson from Hand, he reflected on his experience and said, “The skills he teaches are essential for any student, whether they plan on going to college, vocational school, or straight into the workforce. If we want to give our kids the best chance possible to succeed after high school, we need more amazing teachers like Robert.” FCS educators do not only teach students, they lead society and deserved to be recognized—join FCCLA on FCS Educator Day to do just that.

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