Goldilocks & the Apparel Design Students
3/14/2014 8:49 AM
Although Chelsea Bagwell may resemble the fictional character from the classic fairy tale, her story is quite real, and so are the bears. A couple of years ago this compassionate 7th-grader wanted to start a 4-H project, something that would help children who had been in an accident, a natural disaster, or foster care. That’s when she came up with the idea of “Stiches of Friendship”, a community service project that wasn’t too small, or too big, but just the right size.
“Chelsea wanted to share her friendship by giving teddy bears to these children,” her mother, Eve Bagwell said. “She has donated over 500 bears to police stations, fire stations, children’s advocacy centers, foster kids, tornado victims, and even to an orphanage in Latvia.”
In the classic children’s tale, there are only three bears, so where do these additional, hand-sewn, customized teddy bears come from? Thanks to Tulsa Tech’s Apparel Design instructor, Ms. Karen Davis, and her students, nearly 70 of the most recent creations have been born in their classroom.
“My students and I were visiting a textile store one day and I noticed one of the bears,” Davis said. “Once we found out about Chelsea’s incredible efforts, we thought this would make a great class project, and we wanted to see how we might become involved.”
The Apparel Design class not only includes learning concepts related to textures, shapes, and colors, but also teaches the mechanics of sewing and how these components come together for the final design. And while many of her students aspire to work in fashion-related careers, Ms. Davis feels that community service projects like “Stiches of Friendship” allow her class to learn equally valuable skills.
“These projects make a difference in how students feel toward wanting to help others,” Davis said. “They begin to realize this small token of their time will show a child that someone does love them.”
ShyAnn Floyd, a junior at Skiatook High School, chose the Apparel Design class because she feels fashion is an inexpensive way to express her creativity, and having the opportunity to work on this type of project is a special bonus.
“Learning the concepts of design, and how to sew are very rewarding,” Floyd said. “But getting to help our community with something like this, it really touches your heart.”
One student feels that the project has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience, even a possible avenue for good karma.
“I like helping other people and this has been really been fun,” Jaria Vue, a junior at Broken Arrow High School said. “I also believe that doing good deeds brings good deeds.”
MacKenzie Lamb hopes to possibly work in marketing or design for a major fashion label. The Jenks High School junior was excited about the project from the very beginning.
“I’ve done some volunteer work at a local food bank in the past, and it just made me feel so fortunate,” Lamb said. “I feel like it’s very important to give back whenever we can.”
Crystal Jones, a junior at Jenks High School who would like to eventually design clothes to help all girls feel beautiful and confident, says she has been extremely impressed by the project, and the girl who created it.
“I found myself really looking up to this young, little girl,” Jones said. “What little girl has this type of heart, and the imagination, the determination, to begin this type of project?”
The answer is simple, and it’s not Goldilocks, it’s Chelsea Bagwell.
Thanks to the Bagwell family for letting Tulsa Tech contribute to this heart-warming effort, and thanks to Ms. Davis and her class for demonstrating how our students strive to go beyond the classroom in their efforts to give back to our great community.
If you’re currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality business and industry training, or a career that’s just right for you, visit a Tulsa Tech campus today. For more information, please call 918-828-5000 or visit us online at tulsatech.edu.