JACKSON – Students are paying it forward in a unique way at the Christa McAuliffe Middle School. The school recently opened a “Vintage Shop.”
The shop opened at the school in February. Students, teachers and parents bring in gently used clothing, accessories and other items and their fellow students can go “shopping” in the Vintage Shop at a cost of a dollar per item.
Principal Debra Phillips said that when teacher Victoria Hay approached her on the idea in September, having learned of it at other schools, a brainstorming session began to make it a reality.
“Vicky came to me and asked me if it would be possible. We looked for a location and the best place was the back of the library,” Phillips said.
It serves several purposes. It promotes the recycling of clothes and items, it provides a place for all students to find clothing and items for as little as a dollar. It has things like personal hygiene products and extra gym clothes for students who may not have access to such items, and the students were involved in getting it set up and decorated as a chic and cool place.
Hay said that gathering inventory for the shop began in early November through social media announcements requesting school-appropriate items such as shoes, sneakers, shirts, pants, purses, and winter coats. “We also have schools supplies, string backs and T-shirts and we’ll soon have a lot of spring things coming out.”
“Teachers brought in things every day and kids help after school,” Hay added.
Media specialist Lisa Crate runs the store through the day and said the response has been “overwhelmingly positive. I had to turn away kids on the first day. Every student in the school has either come in to shop or at least browse.”
Phillips, Crate and Hay also agreed that they didn’t want to see the shop seen by students with a stigma attached to it.
“Our goal was to make it for everyone. Students today want independence to shop on their own and everything in the store is one dollar. We’re not going for profit here. The funds are going right back into the store,” Crate said.
Phillips said she was pleased that students were involved in maintaining the store and working with staff on continually rotating donations.
Seventh grade student Talyn McMillan said that her fellow students loved the idea of “paying it forward” and helping out.
“I am a new student here. I got here two or three months ago and I like working there as I get the advantage of seeing what is about to be put out,” she said.
This allows students to donate their middle school aged clothes and items, rather than just put them in a random donation bin in a parking lot and never knowing what happens to them.
“It is fun and there is some trendy stuff for a dollar where you’d have to pay $45 somewhere else. I like to shop but I don’t like to spend money. Students are still talking about it a lot. So many kids are going in there each day,” Talyn said.
Hay said that “on our first day the line went through the doorway down the hallway. We generally get 50 kids a day at the shop”
Phillips said the students visit the shop during their home room period, during lunch and can also go after school.