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Waccamaw Intermediate launches a green initiative with a fashion show: Eco-chic

By Roger Greene
Coastal Observer

The green initiative at Waccamaw Intermediate School took center stage last week.

“Gators Go Green” featured more than 28 students and teachers modeling fashions made from 100 percent recycled material, such as garbage bags, water bottles, soda bottles and newspapers.

The event was sponsored by Fisher Recycling and drew an estimated audience of 350.

The evening’s purpose was to educate students and their families about the importance and benefits of recycling, and the fashion show served as a further learning experience during a series of environmentally friendly activities and studies at Waccamaw Intermediate leading up to Earth Day on April 22.

“Everyone had a blast,” said Nicole Zeller, a fifth-grade teacher who helped organize the event. “We had a great turnout and that is due to all the hard work put in by the students, parents, teachers and administration.

“We’re hoping we can do something like this again. The only difference is I want to be in front of the stage the next time. I spent so much time working behind the scenes that I feel like I missed out on some of the fun.”

Awards were given out for the top fashion designs in each class and an overall winner was also selected. The criteria for choosing the best designs included originality, creativity and construction.

The creative process spurred educational awareness as students were only allowed to incorporate recyclable materials into their designs.

“There was so much learning involved,” Zeller said. “Students were going home and looking for the [recyclable] symbol on products and were doing research on what type of things they could and could not use. That was especially true of the different kind of tapes, glues and threads they could use to put their designs together. For example, they learned that duct tape is not recyclable, but masking tape is.”

Charlene Allen’s fourth-graders were selected as the overall winner with student model Chase Skinner adorning a Marie Antoinette style dress and accessories.

The surfer-themed costume, modeled by Bradford Thompson and created by Shirley Feschuk’s fifth-graders, and the phone book dress, modeled by Hannah Nelson and created by Sarah Colgrove’s sixth-graders, were picked as the top designs in their classes.

While happy to receive awards, the students did not lose sight of the evening’s intended purpose.

“I learned recycling is very important for the environment,” Skinner said. “Everyone now thinks the Earth is important because of the fashion show.”

“Because of the fashion show, I learned a lot of information about recycling,” said Alex Sanders, a sixth-grader. “So in the future there will be less [trash] in landfills.”

The fall recycling campaign began this year’s green initiative at Waccamaw Intermediate and that has continued through the balance of the school year as every classroom has been equipped with a recycling bin for materials including newspapers, magazines and plastic bottles.

And, on the heels of the fashion show, additional class contests – such as who can collect the most plastic bags and aluminum cans – will also be staged.

“It’s all about education and raising awareness,” Zeller said. “We want students to understand what the needs are. We want them to realize the importance of recycling and taking care of the environment.”

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