Rachel Gullixson, Overhills High School teacher of Apparel Development, didn’t anticipate the amount of support she received from her apparel classes when she showed 10 photographs of Kenyan orphans (aged 7 to 17) for a class project.

The project was simple enough; make wardrobes for the children to send to them. Not only was Gullixson teaching the chidren about sizing, wardrobe planning, styling, and climate style, she taught them how to care for others and it showed.

With about 250 pounds of clothing, shoes, and accessories, Gullixson is left scrambling to fundraise enough money to send the wardrobes to the Kenyan children in need.

“I was impressed with the amount of clothing we received and how many students brought in both used and brand new things,” explained Gullixson. “I took that as a learning tool. As a top buyer, fashion store owner, or designer, you don’t want to see your merchandise sitting in customers’ closets with tags on it that have never been used. You have to know what your target market wants”

Jackets, jeans, shoes, purses, and even a brand new Dooney and Burke wallet sat in boxes as Gullixson explained to her students how to top stitch fabric together during her second period class, Oct. 27. Gullixson teaches her students not only the fundamentals of style, but also how to sew and design their own look. Her style of teaching and personal curriculum has landed her a nomination to help restructure the North Carolina curriculum of apparel development.

Along with the new wardrobes Gullixson plans to send to the orphans, she also has an after school sewing club that is sewing stockings for the children. Once completed, the stockings will be filled with goodies and hygiene products to send over as well.
“It makes me feel really happy to make the stockings (for the children),” said Breana Miller, 15, whose stepfather is in the military. “I hope to make more for them to ensure they are happy during the holiday season.”

With so many boxes full of clothing, Gullixson hopes to raise at least $1000 to palletize and ship the clothing in time for the holiday. She has the support of her principal and agrees that this is a good problem to have, meaning the children and possibly more will benefit significantly with the huge donation.

“(Donating to help others) is really important,” explained Jan Miranda, 17, whose father is also in the military. “After my dad went to Iraq and got involved with an embassy program, we got to travel all around Europe and saw so many people living in poverty.”

Miranda was so impacted when Gullixson showed his class the pictures of the Kenyan orphans and told their story, that he donated $15 of his own money, literally out of his pocket that day, and asked his teacher to use it to buy socks and underwear for the children.

“I have too much now as it is,” Miranda smiled. “I wanted to help out as much as I could.”