Unsung Heroes: New HHS Culinary Arts Teacher Brings Fresh, Unexpected Skills to the Kitchen


Ella Peabody

Heidi Vermeil is in the midst of directing culinary class, working hands on with her students.

It is a simple basement room, with the distinctive sound of a sizzling skillet and the clangs of a measuring cup. Teenage laughter is heard, along with the occasional recipe reading and perhaps the more unpleasant noise of spilling ingredients. But, most of all, discerned over all this kitchen fun and sometimes chaos, is the guiding voice of a leader, firmly understood, yet comforting students through the many splits and splats of the kitchen. Bringing new, open-minded meaning to colorful confections and culinary creations.    

That guiding voice belongs to Heidi Vermeil, who expected to start this school year in a whole different room. Just as she had the year before, as the HHS Library Instructional Assistant working behind the scenes in the HHS library. But when a teacher was urgently needed in the culinary arts department she was willing to tuck away her library book and step into the kitchen. Former elementary school teacher, Vermeil, graciously agreed to take on additional classes in culinary arts for both middle and high school students.  

“It’s certainly proved challenging,” said Vermeil, “but, I feel so very fortunate to have this chance with the kids. It’s been quite a learning experience…and, all in all, well worth the extra workload.”

She did this even without a culinary or home economics background, being schooled in education and media but has tried her best to cope and learn as she goes. Without expectation, but with an enthusiastic attitude for the kids and their learning, even when the occasional egg is splat. 

“Teaching children how cooking works has proved difficult, given my lack of knowledge”, she also said, “however, that it is certainly a mess in her kitchen but she doesn’t think that matters when there is learning and fun involved.”

Jason Gay, Library Media Specialist, who knows Vermeil well from their time in the library together said that though stepping into a new role “Heidi Vermeil has had a large number of life experiences and teaching tips/pointers that make her a solid team member for HHS.” 

He concluded by saying that Vermeil is highly adaptable and able to bring new views and ideas, while continually trying to bridge the gap between the teacher that left, making it easier for the kids. 

However, Vermeil has her own passions, far from her many tasks at HHS

Along with her commitments at school, she has created for herself an array of other hobbies that have proven quite successful. Working as a wedding cake decorator, and professional artist. She enjoys painting, and has for a great many years, now keeping up an Instagram page to gallery her fascinating work and accomplishments. “Painting is what I love, it’s a tremendous part of my life.” However, this passion is in competition with the other tasks she has taken on here at HHS. 

Fitting in time for her favorite activity of the arts is now a bit more challenging, with more responsibilities and classes to look after. However, she does not complain, willing to do all she can for the welfare of the school she serves. 

“I want these kids to have the same chances as they would at an earlier time, they deserve someone who can educate them and adapt to them, not the other way around.” 

With a constantly open mind, even through the chaotic times that will come and go, Vermeil continues on. Educating and adapting, even when she herself is in doubt. Being steady in between, acting as a role model for the rest of us with her selfless attitude and an open mind. Resembling a hero, partly strong in teaching lessons and partly always learning, from the many experiences had, just as we all are continually learning.  “I simply think of the kids, and know that no matter what we will come through together, we learn from each other.”