A Jewyl of Inspiration

Zaneta Encarnacion

Wed June 25, 2014 2:48pm

Walking into Jewyl Clarke’s classroom at Eastlake High School, you might hear laughing, singing, guitar-playing, gardening and cooking. This is not your typical chemistry class! Clarke has taught at Eastlake since 2007 and infuses her instruction with her passion for food and cooking. She believes teaching and learning work best when everyone is having fun.
“It is so exciting when my students suddenly understand a hard concept. I often tell them that chemistry is one of the hardest classes they will take in high school, but I feel like having fun and showing them the relevance of the topics we learn helps them better understand the world they live in.“
This year her classes started an aquaponic mini-garden to grow basil above a fish tank, which would cycle the nutrients straight from the fish to the plants without the use of soil or outside fertilizer. They studied the way ­nitrogen cycled through the aquaponic system. Clark then used the basil the students had grown to make snacks, including basil-lemon cookies and grilled cheese sandwiches. Of course there were lessons to be learned in creating the snacks, such as the chemistry of cookies! An extra credit assignment for the students was to make a video about the gas laws, which apply well to baking.
Her passion for food is also on display at her food blog, www.foodiecurious.com. Here you will find new recipes, restaurant reviews and favorite kitchen tools.
“It is funny because my colleagues say that my recipes read like lab procedures ... but really, the kitchen is just a lab where the ingredients are the reactants, and you can create reactions with heat resulting in a delicious meal!”
Clark’s passion for food and people is conta­gious. Eastlake High and our community are lucky to have this teacher inspiring our youth!
Zaneta Encarnacion is director of the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation.