For 22 years, starting in 1955, high-school seniors from schools across America elected to take a 50-minute exam, a rite of passage and part of “The Betty Crocker Search for the All-American Homemaker of Tomorrow” scholarship program. (Young men were invited to join the program starting in 1973.)
The exam was taxing (150 questions long) and set at a rigorous pace (50 minutes to complete, no ifs, ands or buts). Covering a vast array of topics, questions delved into everything from spiritual and moral values, family relationships, child care, health and safety, money management and community participation.
According to Susan Marks, author of the must-read Finding Betty Crocker, many contestants claimed they were better test-takers than homemakers; some even admitted they used it as an excuse to skip class and were rather embarrassed by the whole thing.
Far from embarrassing, however, is the 2.1 million dollars the program awarded young women in scholarship money over its 22-year run. Scholarship money was given at both state and national levels, and for a program based on homemaking, many girls were actually able to pay their college tuition or dorm fees with the prize money.
Following school, this rather exclusive group of Homemakers of Tomorrow went on to fill many roles, including U.S. senator. (Elizabeth Warren, a first-term senator from Massachusetts, won the award at her high school in 1966.)
Did you participate in the Homemaker of Tomorrow program? If so, we’d love to hear your story!