Skip To Main Content

Logo Image

Rockwood School District

Logo Title

Career and Technical Education Month: Advanced Creative Fashion

Career and Technical Education Month: Advanced Creative Fashion

February is National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, a time to raise awareness of the role career and technical education has in readying learners for college and career success. The Rockwood School District offers a variety of CTE course selections in three main areas: business education; family and consumer science; and technology education.

Today, we take a closer look at the Advanced Creative Fashion class at Eureka High.

Before entering Eureka High, the extent of Haiden Schoessel’s sewing knowledge was fixing a small hole in fabric.

During Advanced Creative Fashion last semester, Schoessel made herself a floral-print dress. This semester, she’s planning to make another and – if she has any time left over – a T-shirt quilt that incorporates the club and school swimming shirts that the four-time state champion has accumulated over more than a decade in the sport.

A Rockwood student smiles at her sewing station during fashions class.

“I have no history in my family of anyone knowing how to sew. When I came into this, I had no experience,” said Schoessel, who took prerequisites Fashion Fundamentals 1 and 2 with teacher Debbie Powell before Advanced Creative Fashion. “Mrs. Powell has done a really good job of making the program work so well, where you just build your skills every time you take the class. It’s really easy to follow along, and it worked for me."

In Advanced Creative Fashion, students learn progressive construction techniques, pattern drafting and textile design using state-of-the-art technology. A summary of education and training requirements and opportunities for career paths in textiles, fashion and apparel industries is also included as part of the course.

The Fashion Fundamentals course track embraces students of all skill levels, from newcomers like Schoessel; to students such as juniors Sophie Lee, Julia Wilks and Ellie Wohlschlaeger, who first learned to sew in middle school family and consumer science classes; to students such as senior Sarah Koch, who has been interested in creating fashion her entire life.

A Rockwood student smiles as she works on a crochet project during fashions class.

“My mom went into fashion for college, so I’ve grown up around it and learned how to sew from my mom and grandma,” Koch said. “These classes have really taken it to the next level, learning new things. Mrs. Powell is an amazing teacher.”

By the time students reach Advanced Creative Fashion, Powell said, they are free to conceive and execute their own designs using skills they’ve learned in class: whether it be a prom dress, casual wear or the student who crochets designs based on digital patterns she creates.

Last semester – between the time the students ordered their fabric and when it arrived at the school – the class combined two of the summer’s biggest trends to make Taylor Swift Eras-tour inspired clothes for Barbie figures.

“The fact we get to make whatever we want is what made me want to go all the way up to Advanced,” Lee said. “The things we learn in here apply to real life, outside of high school. It’s important to know how to sew if you need to fix something. You learn all of the different seams in here, and it helps with problem-solving.”

Two class projects - dresses for schoolchildren and clothes for Barbie figures - are displayed in a Rockwood fashions class.

Powell said the class also incorporates a community service project into the coursework. This semester, students are using fabric purchased from Ghana to make garments for the nonprofit Little Dresses for Africa, which supplies dresses and other humanitarian services for schoolchildren.

“These projects show how you can use skills that you’ve learned to help other people,” Wohlschlaeger said.

Aside from teaching valuable skills for everyday use, Rockwood fashion courses help lay the groundwork for students interested in pursuing a career in the field.

Olivia Short took five fashion classes – including three separate Advanced Creative Fashion semesters – during her time at Eureka. The 2019 graduate went on to earn a degree in fashion merchandising from Kent State University in December 2022 and is now a merchandise administrator on the buying team for golf apparel at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

“I loved the environment Mrs. Powell created in her classroom. Fashion was something I was really interested in, and she created a space that allowed the creativity and passion to explore,” Short said. “Studying fashion in college, being able to have fashion classes in high school was a game-changer: not only just the benefit of knowing how to sew, but I was exposed to so much before my college courses.”

Recent News Articles