Ms. Anderson: Her life outside the classroom


Ms. Anderson poses in her authentic WWII outfit for a candid shot. The SoCal WACs, which is the organization Ms. Anderson reenacts for, allows women with a passion for the 40’s and 50’s to explore their interests.

Kai Arellano and Madison Duong

Have you ever wondered what teachers do in their free time? Despite the countless hours of sitting and staring at computer screens, LBHS U.S. History teacher Shelby Anderson has overcome these stressful times. Through her vast hobbies and interests, she has been able to keep busy while getting through the challenges of teaching from home. 

Ms. Anderson first got into reenacting when she was in graduate school. While earning her teaching credentials, she was thinking about what would keep her future students interested. Looking online, she discovered historical reenactment and figured it could double as a fun hobby with her boyfriend, as well. 

“With reenacting, I get to learn history in a more personalized and humanized way, which I then take into the classroom to help my students understand the realities of history,” said Anderson.

Currently, Ms. Anderson reenacts in an organization called the SoCal WACs. The group does educational presentations about women and their work in the armed forces during World War II in authentic ’40s uniforms. Although COVID-19 postponed many in-person events, the group has found new ways to virtually bring the hobby to life and to still educate the public. Merging her career and hobbies, Anderson hosted a variety of extra-credit Zoom sessions with her fellow reenactors to teach students more about World War II.

“WWII was the era when women finally achieved the right to be a part of the military. It was a turning point where women were really able to prove themselves as capable and have a uniform. Today, my group gets to tell the story of what women did. I really like the aspect of empowerment that comes with telling these stories!” said Anderson.

Besides reenacting, Ms. Anderson also spends a lot of time making goods for her Etsy shop. She creates handmade travel blankets, stickers and keychains inspired by her vintage trailer named Babalu.

“My Etsy shop’s handle is ‘Who doesn’t love a vintage trailer?’ I chose to illustrate vintage trailers because they are so inclusive; everyone can get behind a vintage trailer!” said Anderson.

Her past experiences as a small business owner, where she created fashionable UV protection clothing for women back in college, inspired Ms. Anderson to start another business. After receiving a business license, she opened her Etsy shop for those in the vintage trailer owner community.

“I find vintage trailers are fun and spark joy in people! There’s so much negativity in the world right now, so I would love to create a little aspect of happiness for people,” said Anderson.

Anderson has also recently starred on ABC’s Wheel of Fortune. On Nov. 2, she starred on an episode after two years of seeking to be on the show. She began her interest in college when she saw that there was a show solely for college students. Anderson sent in an audition tape and patiently waited for the next year and a half. When she learned that they accepted her application, she began practicing diligently. On the show, she earned just over a thousand dollars and had a fun night.

“I had such a great time on the show! It was an experience I will never forget, and I encourage everyone to try out! And winning is all about perspective, and from my perspective, I won just by getting to play!” said Anderson.

Many would wonder how Ms. Anderson can keep up with all of the crazy yet amazing things she has done. Not only is she teaching on the daily through a 100% online platform, but she also has orders to fulfill, reenactments to plan, and, up until recently, studying for Wheel of Fortune

“I was her student last year in Global Studies, and you can clearly see that she puts a lot of work into making every individual lesson enjoyable. Her passion in WWII reenacting shows that she genuinely wants us to learn about the difficult topics of the past. She teaches in a way that makes us want to learn because she puts so much of her passion and feelings into her job, and I appreciate that a lot,” said sophomore Rosabella Murphy.