Betty Crocker Homemaker Display_feature
Apr 09, 2013 • By

Remembering Betty Crocker Homemakers of Tomorrow

“I would like to have you join me on a trip down memory lane that involves General Mills, in particular the Betty Crocker company…”

So begins a letter we recently received from Barbara in Danvers, Mass.

Barbara wrote about her experience receiving the Homemaker of Tomorrow award at her high school in New Jersey back in 1958.

The Betty Crocker Search for the All-American Homemaker of Tomorrow, as it was officially known, was a one-of-a-kind scholarship program that ran from 1955 to 1977. When it began, organizers said the purpose of the program was “to focus national attention on the so-called ‘forgotten career’ of homemaking, and on the untiring job being done by America’s high schools to develop citizens and homemakers of the future.”

Scholarship money was awarded at the state and national level. The top winner from each state was flown to Washington D.C., where the national winners were chosen, following a week of competition. Local high school winners received a heart-shaped pin – something many of the recipients covet today.

Barbara shared these photos of her pin and wrote:

“When I wear the pin on a jacket or blazer, someone invariably asks me about the symbolism of the design, as it is truly unique. I enjoy recounting the history of this pin and how Betty Crocker was once a great influence on young girls.”

Contestants were required to take a 50-minute exam. The test, consisting of 150 questions, covered a variety of topics: family relationships, spiritual and moral values, child development and care, health and safety, utilization and conservation, money management, recreation and use of leisure time, home care and beautification, community participation, and continuing education.

Barbara recalled that the test was several pages long.

She wrote that she was stunned when it was announced at a school assembly that she’d won. “Winning this award made me even more conscious of the importance of hearth and home,” she added.

The year Barbara was named her school’s Homemaker of Tomorrow, more than 327,000 girls from 11,800 schools took the exam. (Originally, the program was only open to high school senior girls, but senior boys were allowed to participate starting in 1973.)

Dozens of Homemakers of Tomorrow responded to a blog post by Susan Marks, author of the book “Finding Betty Crocker.” Many of them claim they weren’t good homemakers – just good test-takers. Some confess they only took the exam to get out of class. Some say they were a little embarrassed by the whole thing.

One winner wrote that when her name was announced over the school intercom all the jocks started ribbing her about making them a sandwich.

Still, nobody’s joking about the $2.1 million in scholarships the program provided.

“My award paid for my whole first year’s tuition at Stanford,” wrote one winner.

“It paid my dorm fees for two years, so it was a great help,” wrote another.

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.

Thank you, Barbara, for your letter and for prompting this post on the Homemaker of Tomorrow program. We’d like to hear from other Homemakers of Tomorrow.

Editor’s note: The General Mills Archives provided information and images for this post. You can learn more about our past on GeneralMills.comHave a question about General Mills’ history? Send our Archives team an email.

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  • Lindsi and Jamie

    Not a good homemaker myself, I highly doubt I’d pass that exam! Lindsi, however could probably ace it! ~Jamie

  • Joan

    As soon as I saw that pin, I thought “I have to have one!” Fortunately, I found one on Ebay and it’s now mine! I’m so excited. I love this article!

    • Joan

      I received mine from Ebay today. It’s dated 1955 and is a state award winner pin and has rhinestones on it. How cool! I didn’t realize 1955 was the first year. I wish there was a way to determine which state winner it belonged to. It did come from Delaware, so maybe that’s it.

  • Katie Grant

    My Mother, Barbara Grant (Farnham at the time), was the state winner for Rhode Island in 1955. She has all her press & memorobilia. How can she contact you?

    • Kevin Hunt

      Hi Katie… Have her send us an email and we can forward that to the Archives team to see if they want to follow up. Our email address is Thanks!

      Kevin Hunt
      General Mills

    • sue

      I was state winner for Massachusetts in 1958. We went on a tour of New York, and Williamsburg, along with dressing up in Colonial costumes. I sat next to Dick Clark and his wife in New York.
      It was all about the multiple choice test. I am a whiz at taking tests; not so much following the party homemaker line. You should see me today-wouldn’t recognize me! How about your mom?
      Susan Lothrop Protheroe
      East bridgewater high school, MA, 1958

      • Kevin Hunt

        Hi Sue! I’m going back over these comments right now, in Oct 2016, as we are thinking about doing an update on this story. Can you send us an email at I’d like to chat with you. Thanks!

  • Susan Liermann

    I won a pin for in 1973 and have lost it. Is there any way to get it replaced?

  • Cindy Peck

    I was John P. Stevens, Edison, NJ’s homemaker of tomorrow 1973!

  • stella

    I won the award at my highschool in 1975, no one ever told me that I might qualify for scholarship money….

    • sebshezu

      I won mine in 1956. I didn’t know much about it and was totally unaware of it going any further than our HS, With my school I believe that all the senior girls had to take it. When I won it, I was embarrased. I was kind of a tom boy and being the winner was a joke to me. I lost my pin in a fire, and after reading all this wish that I still had it.

  • Anne Milewski Petrovich

    I won mine in 1977 for my school and region. I took the test at the encouragement of my boyfriend at the time who was taking the test for scholarship money. Who knew that I would win (especially since my boyfriend graduated 10th in my high school class)! Glad I took the test! I received recognition at school and my picture in the school district paper. :)

    • Laurie

      I also won the award in 1977, though only for my school. I am curious, Anne – did you get a charm? I only got the certificate, no jewelry, and I am a teensy bit jealous of all the people who mention getting a charm or a pin. I do have the certificate framed, though, and it’s hanging in my laundry room. It still makes me smile. :-)

      • Anne Milewski Petrovich

        I never got the charm. I was surprised about the pin/charm–so much that I just bought it on eBay. So now I have a pin (I will when it comes in the mail). :oD The certificate is now MIA–I moved a lot over the years and it became a casualty. Since 1977 was the last year this award was given, they probably didn’t give anything out. What a shame. PS–Congratulations! :oD

        • Laurie

          I’m sorry you don’t have the certificate anymore, but I’m glad you found a pin. I’ve been thinking that perhaps having so many guys win in the last couple of years made the jewelry seem inappropriate. Wouldn’t they have loved to wear a Betty Crocker tie tack, lol? Thanks for responding to my question. It’s been fun to find out what the award was really all about, and to hear more from other winners.

  • Guy Lipkins

    I won the award in 1973 (Crispus Attucks High School, Indianapolis, IN), the 1st year males were allowed to participate. All I remember receiving was a certificate and the ridicule of my fellow teammates.

    • Kevin Hunt

      Hi Guy, hoping you see this! We are thinking about doing an update on this story. Can you send us an email at Thanks!

  • Kathleen Johnson

    I was the winner from my high school in 1964. When the award was announced at graduation my father and grandfather nearly fell off their chairs laughing. Now, all these years later, I realize how important those skills have been in my life. When I look back, I realize that I have used those skills, over and over to keep me afloat through some very difficult times. I think we have lost something by making Home Economics a back burner topic.

    • Kevin Hunt

      Kathleen, can you send us an email at I’d like to chat with you for an update to this story. Thanks!

  • Smikel

    I also won in 1977. I don’t remember any jewlery or scholarship benefits. I didn’t realize that 1977 was the last year of this award either. This is interesting.

  • Joyce Webster

    That was me, a good test-taker, but I appreciate the trip and the scholarship. Joyce (nee) Dixon, Florida ’63

  • catb55

    I was the Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow for my school 1973 and yes I have the charm still on my charm bracelet from High School.

  • Nancy McGeough Travis

    I was the Betty Crocker Future Homemaker of Tomorrow at graduation from Billerica Memorial High School in 1974. Although I have never been a stay at home homemaker EVER, I still love to cook! I have been a RN for over 38 years! I have fond memories of Home Economics in high school. My dad was so proud of this award!

  • Dan

    Wow, I was the winner of the award for Fitzgerald (GA) High School in 1976. I was taking the class “Home Econ for Boys” and we all took the exam. I’m proud of the award now, but as a teenage boy, not so much…

    • Kevin Hunt

      Hi Dan, can you send us an email at I’d like to chat with you. Thanks!

  • Lorna Lund Collins

    I won for my high school (Alhambra High School in Alhambra, CA) in 1964. I only took the test because a friend didn’t want to go alone. I lost my pin in about 1986, but I found a replacement one on eBay.

  • Susan Coman

    I won for my high school in a small town in Florida. As others, I was totally embarrassed (could barely boil water). I was also a good test taker. But then I won for the state and had a wonderful time in Williamsburg, Washington DC, and NY. The icing on the cake was winning 3rd place in the nation. Besides providing me a very nice scholarship, Betty Crocker sent me quite a nice collection of 8″ x 10″ photos from the trip. I would be happy to share what I have. (Alas, I don’t remember a pin.)

    • Ashley Halladay

      Hi Susan,

      We’re so glad your experience was memorable. Our Archives team would like to connect with you. Please email

      Ashley Halladay
      General Mills

  • Marg

    Based on the ability to get out of some other class for that period, I took what seemed to be an easy test with no preparation (or so I thought) and then forgot about it. A few months later was alarmed when my h.s. principal called me to his office over the intercom…I wondered what had i done wrong. He said, ” Your parents are going to be very proud of you…” I was floored to hear that I had won The Homemaker of the Year award for Waltham (Mass.) H.S. class of 1972. It was considered a bit of a joke…I was the last person you’d think of as domestic, andI I never vaunted the fact that I had won, being a bit embarassed about it. But looking back, I realize that I had from a very young age been learning the fine arts of homemaking at the elbows of my grandmother, mother and aunts – excellent cooks and seamstresses. The lessons they had been teaching me – not anything I had achieved – had been tested that day… Today of course, ‘homemaking’ has now been reevaluated as a valuable enterprise, women having been liberated from its being a necessary burden.

    While I’ve enjoyed a career in a different field, over the decades I’ve discovered that one can derive great fulfillment from sharing a sustaining and creative home and social life for family and friends. So I suppose receiving the award wasn’t as outlandish as I had once thought.

  • Moe StGermaine Hunt

    Wow! I just came across an old photo album with a newspaper clipping of my photo….the whole article wasn’t saved, unfortunately. I do remember taking the test as a senior at David Prouty HS in Spencer, MA in 1966. I’d never won a thing in high school and was very nervous to be called to the principal’s office after he’d made the morning announcements. A photographer was there and I was told that I’d won the Betty Crocker award for the school! I never received a pin or certificate, but do remember being pretty embarrassed by the attention! A week later, a group of friends and I attended a dance at the Leicester Airport and a few of the guys there actually had seen my photo and came over to mention it to me!! My 15 minutes of fame!! LOL