Golden Apple: Brainerd Learning Center Students Design Clothing To Break Stereotypes
Students at the Brainerd Learning Center are working to end the stereotypes associated with their school. Through a partnership with Junior Achievement, students designed a clothing line with the message, “We’re Not Those Kids.”
Students at the Brainerd Learning Center say people often think that they are different than other high schoolers.
“When people think of students that come to this school, they normally think of the bad kids,” said Abbey Thurstin, Brainerd Learning Center Student.
“They always think we’re like druggies or do drugs or alcohol or have bad family lives when we don’t. We’re all here because we have different reasons and need to be in different spaces to learn,” said student Jessica Smith.
Through a partnership with Junior Achievement, they are working to break those stereotypes.
“I’ve been teaching here for over 30 years, and I have to explain every time I tell somebody I work here that no, they’re really not those kids,” explained Howie Jacobs, Brainerd Learning Center Junior Achievement Instructor.
A newly-formed entrepreneurship class at the school allowed students to create their own apparel line featuring the BLC logo along with the motto, “We’re Not Those Kids.”
“I think the big thing that hit home for us is when they came up with their message, you know, why. Tell us about why you need your own apparel,” said James Thompson, Junior Achievement Volunteer Teacher. “Tell us more the story behind it.”
The students worked from beginning to end, building the business every step of the way.
“We decided to make these sweatshirts because our school doesn’t have any school-specific merchandise,” said student Macey Whitlock.
The business’s future will be decided by the students at the end of the class. By creating and selling these shirts, the students hope to change the way the rest of the district sees them.
“We’re not those kids that always that always get in trouble and are druggies and dropouts and stuff. We just want to graduate on time and get our stuff done,” added Learning Center student Morgan Meyer.
“The message isn’t just for themselves – it’s for all the students that are here, the middle school students, the other students that are in their grade levels,” said Brook Mallak, Junior Achievement Volunteer Teacher. “It’s okay to be different.”
The students went in to the class not knowing what to expect and have learned a lot from the process.
“This whole process has taught me to have more confidence and not be afraid to talk to adults about real-life situations,” said Whitlock.
“Getting to work with all my friends and learning new stuff about starting a business because I thought it would be easy, but it’s really not that easy,” added Meyer.
For the Junior Achievement volunteers, this class has been just as impactful to them as it has been to the students.
“To watch them talk about this with pride and to see the looks in their faces and really see how they feel inside,” added Mallak. “This has been my most rewarding Junior Achievement experience ever.”
The Brainerd Learning Center apparel can be bought online at wntkblc.itemorder.com until the end of the fall semester.