Lavinder a fan of forensics, flowers

Stephanie McCracken, Staff Writer

A lot of students may find her intimidating upon first meeting her, but forensic and chemistry teacher Shelly Lavinder is actually kind and humorous.

“A lot of kids think I am strict, but it’s because I care,” Lavinder said.

Lavinder cares so much, in fact, that she started the forensics program a few years ago. She wrote the entire curriculum and proposed the idea to Principal Dick Kloppel.

“I went to a conference and saw several pieces of forensics like DNA helix, and the idea came to me,” Lavinder said. CSI Las Vegas also was a big influence.

As a cheerleader in high school, however, she never planned on being a teacher until college.

“I had an amazing chemistry professor at MSU Northern, and he really got me into liking science,” Lavinder said. “Plus, I have four generations of teachers in my family, so I was used to the idea.”

Few would know that after a hard day of being a teacher, Lavinder goes straight to her garden at home, where she loves to plant flowers. Her favorite is the star gazer lily.

“Put me in some dirt and I’ll be happy,” Lavinder said.