Parrish teaches students life skills

BLACKFOOT — Teaching practical life skills, this is the second year Angelen Parrish has taught family and consumer science at Mountain View Middle School in Blackfoot.
“My students ask, ‘Why should I learn how to set a table?’” Parrish said. “My reply is, ‘It can make you employable.'
“I share with kids a different perspective because I work in the business world,” Parrish said.
Parrish and her husband, Eugene, own and operate the Shilling House and the Shilling Reception Center. The Shilling Reception Center is up for sale.
“We don’t regret for a minute purchasing the Reception Center but it is not financially cost effective for us to run it at this time,” Angelen said. “We hope it can be used as a community center; with its purpose being to benefit the community.
“When I graduated from ISU in 1976, education was the only degree that could be obtained in home economics,” she said. “I went into business; I kept up my teacher credentials by taking classes and keeping my license updated.
“I consider I have always taught,” Parrish said. “I’ve taught for 30-plus years, just not in the classroom.”
Parrish was a consumer educator with the Idaho Beef Council for 10 years, volunteered with the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and as a 4-H leader for 20-plus year, teaching primarily food and clothing construction. She has also taught hundreds of people in her catering and restaurant business at the Shilling House.
Last school year, Parrish took a part-time position at MVMS, teaching family and consumer education.
Because of the budget cuts, the part-time position was eliminated; the full-time consumer education teacher retired.
“It seemed to work out really well,” she said.
“I don’t know who’s learning more—the students or me,” she said. “There’s always something new, different and fun.”
Parrish teaches elective courses in basic life skills in classes named Foods One and Foods Two, Sewing and Sewing and Crafts.
“I teach a combination of curricula and my own experiences running a business,” Parrish said. “It brings a different perspective to the classroom.
“I also gain a new perspective about what’s going on in education and what’s going on with kids; teaching gives you a lot of different perspectives on things.
“I try to involve kids in activities more than book learning, like how to sew on buttons and experience cooking.”
Kids have a whole range of experience. Some have never boiled water; some cook well.
“I’ve noticed that all students want to be in the group with the person who knows what he’s doing,” Parrish said.
Other electives students can select at MVMS are woods, metals, choir, band and art.
“Teaching is an extension of what I do,” she said. “It is never the same two days in a row; it’s a learning experience for the students and me.”
The most gratifying experience Parrish has had teaching is “seeing the light bulb go on for a student.”
Parrish’s business at the Shilling House at 81 N. Shilling Ave. was the home her parents bought when they moved to Blackfoot from Idaho Falls.
“My husband, Eugene, was born in Blackfoot.
“Our roots go deep,” Parrish said. “I have an eight-generation photograph of women on my mom’s side who lived in Blackfoot; my earliest ancestors in this area arrived in 1864; they settled in the Presto area on the Blackfoot River.”
Both Angelen and Eugene graduated from Blackfoot High School, as did their children, Ben, Carolyn and Andrea. All their children are married. Parrish said, “There have been lots of changes in our household between weddings and babies.”
Carolyn and her husband live in Billings, Mont., and have an 11-week old son. Ben and his wife live in Spokane and are expecting their first child “any minute now.” Andrea and her husband also live in Spokane.