Aubin Stewart: 40 Years of life at CHS
Most alumnae have vivid memories of their best and worst moments when sewing or cooking - a hem that went wrong or a soufflé that never reached its full potential! Many of those memories happened right here at Crofton House School under the watchful eye of Aubin Stewart.
This summer, Aubin will bid Crofton House farewell after 40 years of service to the school community: 35 years of sharing her passion for cooking and sewing with students and five years as an integral part of the Senior School management team.
We sat down with Aubin to capture a few final thoughts before she walks out through the gates and beyond the ivy walls to her next adventure.
Tell me about your first job at Crofton House. How did this 40-year journey start?
Miss Addison hired me in the last week of August. One minute I was in the interview and the next I was prepping for classes – it was quite the whirlwind! At that time, the Home Economics (Home Ec) classroom was an old science lab so there were small sinks and Bunsen burner outlets across the counters. We had to get very creative with the space. We would cram the sewing machines in for half the year and the pull them out so there was the space to teach foods in the second half of the year.
When I came to Crofton House I only had about two years teaching experience, but as the only Home Ec teacher here, I loved the opportunity to be in charge of the program.
Tell me about your career path at CHS?
I taught cooking and sewing for 35 years. Many things have changed over that period. Now Grade 8 students make a pair of boxer shorts or pajama bottoms for their sewing project. Back then, the girls had to make a fully lined wool skirt and model it (for better or worse) in a fashion show!
After that, I had the opportunity to serve as the department head for the newly formed Creative Arts department for a number of years before I moved to Student Services. I then took the Assistant Director role that I hold today.
What do you value most about CHS?
I value the traditions of the school but I also value the forward thinking vision. We were really given some wonderful foundations at the same time, the School is doing such terrific things as they keep their eye on the future – creating a new strategic plan, always growing in how we engage the girls – it’s energizing.
On a personal side, I am very grateful and appreciative of the job that I have and the professional growth that was afforded me. It has been such a terrific fit for me, and for my family. My daughter is a “lifer”, my husband coaches track and field at the School, one of my sons worked as a Saturday facilities staff for a time and my other son was employed by CHS to move desks - for one day!
What motivated you to stay for 40 years?
It’s the love of the job – every day there is a new challenge. It is the love of the students – being able to see them work on projects, be creative, keep challenging themselves. And I love the people I work with – they are all highly intelligent and motivated people. It has been a real pleasure.
What will you miss most?
I’ll miss being around teenagers. Being part of a school and with young people, you have to know the latest stuff, you have to know what the kids are watching or listening to. You need to know how they are communicating. I’ll miss that because they help keep me current – I’m more tech savvy and culture savvy because I am around young people every day! And of course I will miss my colleagues, that is probably going to be one of the biggest adjustments when I’m retired.
Last questions…most memorable cooking or sewing experience?
I have very fond memories of helping girls make their grad dresses and making costumes for school musicals. I have countless memories of disasters but those will stay with me!
I can say that the recipe I am asked for the most is the world’s best macaroni and cheese. I must have made that recipe over 300 times; I could do it in my sleep!
Home Ec 8 Macaroni and Cheese
As we thank Aubin for her 40 years of service and celebrate her retirement, CHS alumnae will agree that this really is the best mac & cheese – and that they gained so many important skills in the Home Ec Room - or the Textiles Room and Food Lab (as they are known today). Those were life lessons learnt and never forgotten.
Aubin Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
250 mL macaroni (or other pasta)
30 mL margarine
30 mL flour
2 mL salt
250 mL milk
125 mL grated cheddar cheese
15 mL bread crumbs (or other topping)
Preheat oven to 180 C; grease a small glass casserole dish.
Boil a large pot of water with a pinch of salt.
Add pasta to boiling water, stir and simmer until tender or al dente. ( about 10 minutes)
Drain cooked pasta and rinse in cold water, using colander.
Return drained pasta to the cooking pot.
Melt margarine in a small saucepan over low heat.
Remove from heat; add flour and salt all at once, and stir until a smooth paste is formed.
Return to low heat and gradually add milk, stirring constantly.
Cook, stirring constantly until sauce thickens.
Cook another 5 minutes to remove any starch flavour.
Add grated cheese and stir until melted.
Pour sauce over cooked pasta and transfer to casserole dish.
Top with bread crumbs and bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly.
Monday July, 9, 2018 at 11:32AM
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