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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 14, 2010

Rocking middle school runway

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By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Wheeler student Taylor Weeks, 13, practices on the runway, in her peace-themed shirt and cap created “to inspire people".

NORMAN SHAPIRO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Sixth-graders Jessica Mattson, left, and Brittany Adams work on a design for the school’s annual fashion show, held yesterday, involving 65 students and 10 teachers.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Art teacher Jenny Goode, left, works with students to prepare for the fashion show. Her class also created a coloring book that has raised $2,500 for children in Haiti.

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Sometimes a student can accidentally catch the fashion bug — and an inspirational teacher can make all the difference.

Jenny Goode of Wheeler Middle School is that kind of teacher. The art teacher's enthusiasm is contagious, and her students have caught it big time during preparations for their annual fashion show, held yesterday — with 65 students and 10 teachers involved.

Although she has a sewing machine at home, Johnnyss Martinez, 13, of Schofield Barracks had limited sewing experience — making stuffed animals for her friends — before she took Goode's textile arts class. Now she's shopping for a pattern to make a dress for the Masquerade Ball.

For her runway look, Martinez bought a white shirt, dyed it purple, cut off one sleeve, replacing it with a black pinstripe, and painted the collar with a graphic design for a punk meets "Purple Rain" look.

Taylor Weeks, 13, of Schofield Barracks paint-spattered and blinged a sassy T-shirt and cap with peace signs. "To inspire people," said the daughter whose dad was once deployed in Iraq.

Jessica Mattson, 12, of Schofield Barracks created "Tiger Scratch," ripping a T-shirt and jeans to make it look like a tiger had attacked her. She then hand-painted the outfit with tiger stripes. She received a sewing machine for Christmas and is now inspired to pursue fashion design or perhaps become an art teacher like Goode.

Devonta' Harris, 13, of Schofield Barracks injected humor into his skull-and-bones T-shirt with an impudent tongue sticking out. He doesn't mind the labor-intensive hand sewing, he said: "I like to have something that's not like anyone else's."

Goode's energetic and enthusiastic class also created a coloring book, which has raised $2,500 for children in Haiti.

Even the school's security guard of 25 years, Sistah, is contributing to the show, cutting stencils and helping students meet their goals while creating her own Hawaiian-themed outfit.

"Art is good for the soul," she said.

"It's fun for the kids to see Sistah in a new light," Goode said, beaming.

It's also fun for the kids, and their families, to be seen on the runway.