Beloved culinary teacher mixes things up one last time

After+being+an+educator+for+over+30+years%2C+beloved+cooking+teacher+Ms.+Maw+is+retiring.+
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Beloved culinary teacher mixes things up one last time

After being an educator for over 30 years, beloved cooking teacher Ms. Maw is retiring.

After being an educator for over 30 years, beloved cooking teacher Ms. Maw is retiring.

Photo by: Lara Delvechio

After being an educator for over 30 years, beloved cooking teacher Ms. Maw is retiring.

Photo by: Lara Delvechio

Photo by: Lara Delvechio

After being an educator for over 30 years, beloved cooking teacher Ms. Maw is retiring.

By Gabrielle Kesh, Features Editor

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Everyone knows the buoyant face from the cooking room that constantly lights up the halls. That face is Caren Maw’s: the culinary arts teacher at West Essex for the past 12 years. Between teaching five classes a day, advising members of the Cooking For a Cause club and being a mom to her actual family (not just a loving mom to her students), Ms. Maw does it all. In news that deeply saddens her devoted fans, Ms. Maw has announced her retirement from more than 30 years of education and has chosen to pass her recipes to the next generation.

“I will miss the kids and the special people in this building that feel like family,” Ms. Maw said. “But I know in my heart that this is the right decision for me.”

Her history with teaching dates back 31 years. She started at West Morris Mendham High School as a family and consumer science teacher before coming to West Essex in 2006. Currently, Ms. Maw teaches three sections of Culinary Arts I and two sections of Culinary Arts II. She loves teaching her students how to cook new foods and stresses how her lessons apply to the real world.  “I had one student who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and I had another student become a recipe developer,” Ms. Maw said. “It’s very exciting to see my old students using what I taught them as they grow up.”

In 2010, Ms. Maw earned the school’s Educator of the Year Award. It is her positive energy and passion that made her a prime candidate for the award. She had only been employed at West Essex for four years when she won the award, but had already made a significantly positive impact on the school.

“Ms. Maw is very deserving of this award because she tries incredibly hard to see all of her students meet their highest potential,” freshman Emily Blake said.

“She’s always smiling and will listen to anyone who wants to talk,” music teacher Alex Soares said. “I’m going to miss the time I spent working with her to put together the senior citizen brunch.”

“She makes the boring parts of class fun,” freshman Alexis Abate said.

“Ms. Maw is the nicest and most awesome teacher I’ve ever had!” junior Melanie Turano said.

Last year, Ms. Maw was asked to be the adviser of the Cooking for a Cause Club, which helps provide food for people in need. In early May, the club made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Tony’s Kitchen food bank in Montclair. Ms. Maw has spent countless hours planning activities, selling baked goods and hosting meetings to make the club as successful as possible. Despite not getting paid for her role as an adviser, she takes on the role because she is extremely passionate about everything the club stands for.

“Ms. Maw is a friend to anyone and I can’t thank her enough for her dedication to the Cooking for a Cause Club,” said sophomore Gillian Wolf, president of the club. “She doesn’t have to be apart of it but she chooses to, and that’s something really special.”

Outside of school, Ms. Maw focuses on family and travel. She is very close with her daughter, who graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, and her son, who will be a sophomore at Rutgers in the fall. She enjoys taking trips down the beach as well as visiting antique shows and during her retirement, she is excited to have additional time to explore other activities that interest her.

Ms. Maw hopes that in the future, West Essex will create a family consumer science program with levels of sewing and flat pattern design. She believes that this class could benefit students by allowing them to use their dexterity to enhance their creativity.  The lessons in the class would not only benefit children as high schoolers, but also throughout their lives.

Although Ms. Maw will no longer be working at West Essex, she hopes that the cooking program will maintain its current momentum. She plans to visit if she has the opportunity and wishes her students the best of luck as they advance through their culinary journeys.

“I want my students to remember to have confidence in their abilities,” Ms. Maw said. “You never know what you can cook until you experiment with ingredients.”

Behind the Byline
Gabrielle Kesh, Features Editor

Gabrielle Kesh works for The Wessex Wire. Tennis is her favorite sport and she plays on the school team every fall. Gabrielle loves shopping, hanging...

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