(WCMH) — The community is rallying together after a home ec teacher at Whitehall Yearling High School suddenly died. Students were devastated and finding a substitute teacher in the middle of the year for such a subject is tough. When teachers asked for guest chefs the response was overwhelming.
“It was a shock. I mean I think everybody in our school’s heart dropped,” said history teacher Anthony Paletta. When news spread that beloved home ec teacher Sandy Kemerer died, it was devastating. “She was like a best friend to me because I always went over in class and I would always sit down and talk. She would tell me about her day and I would tell her about my day,” said senior student Juvaun Blacksheal. Sandy Kemerer taught home ec and early childhood development, but clearly, was more than that. “She was like a mother at our school. She’s willing to talk to them at any time. She was just always caring and you know, when you are breaking bread with people and cooking with people, your building those relationships and so she was very very special to us,” Paletta said.
The kitchen was quiet and Sandy wouldn’t have wanted it to stay that way. That’s why Paletta turned to the Clintonville Discussion Forum page on Facebook. “We really just wanted to get our kids cooking and really try to do something in memory of Sandy. So, I reached out on our Facebook Clintonville page and asked if anybody was a chef for an owner of a restaurant and I thought maybe one or two.” Suddenly close to 90 comments came in from local chefs and supporters.
Catie Randazzo from Abrose and Eve became the first guest chef. ”Having the skill sets to know how to cook and make some basic things for yourself is really important and I think that not having a lot of them at classes in high school now today is kind of sad. So, I want to be able to get these kids some skills to make a dinner for the parents, or maybe make breakfast for themselves in the morning, or if they have a date maybe to impress somebody,” Randazzo said.
That empty kitchen is now full of kids cooking and Sandy’s spirit.
”She would say don’t let this devastate you just always keep her in your heart always,” said Blacksheal. It’s all thanks to teachers on a mission and the communities compassion. “She got to know our students not just on a classroom level but personal level. She helped us through a lot of things. This is the least we can do for her and I hope that we can continue her legacy within our school district and within our central Ohio community,” Paletta said.
In the future, Whitehall Yearling High School is hoping to set up a scholarship in Sandy Kemerer’s name.