Are children who dine regularly with their families more likely achieve good grades and stay out of trouble?
Is “fast fashion” a waste of resources and harmful to the environment?
These are the main questions raised by Apex High School students in their recently completed Family Career and Community Leaders of America projects.
The students teamed up with two downtown businesses to create more public awareness about both topics.
Junior Leah Becton gave a public presentation on her project, “Making Food Fun,” at All Booked Up while seniors Taylor Harrison and Stephanie Schulze presented “Fashion Detox” at Make It Your Own Boutique.
Each FCCLA project requires a 40-page portfolio, 10-minute speech, 30-second public service announcement video, blog and website.
The students will enter the projects into a state FCCLA competition in Greensboro on April 15 with hopes of qualifying for the national event in Nashville, Tenn.
Apex High family and consumer science department teacher and FCCLA advisor Dawn Harrison said the projects require a great deal of time and effort from the students.
“A lot of work and research is involved,” said Harrison. “These public presentations weren’t required by FCCLA. The students wanted to do something extra to bring these topics to people’s attention.”
Becton said her family sits down at the dinner table nearly every night and eats supper together. She was surprised to learn that fewer people participate in what was once a very common family ritual.
“When friends come over to my house for dinner they are surprised when the entire family sits down at the table,” said Becton. “A lot of teens are eating alone in their bedrooms or going out for fast food. People are busier today and have a lot of things going on.”
Becton researched the topic and found that children who dine with their families are more likely achieve good grades and less likely to engage in risky behavior.
“There is more communication between children and their parents when they have to sit down and face each other every night,” said Becton.
Borrowing a number of books from All Booked Up, Becton researched healthy meals that were easy to make.
“Leah always has good ideas,” said Dawn Harrison. “She worked with a dietician on the healthy meals and completed a survey on how many families share meals together.
“This was a great project because it showed the importance of families slowing down to take a breath and eating dinner together. It’s always good when you have more communication between parents and their children.”
Schulze and Taylor Harrison chose their “fast fashion” project after becoming concerned with the trend of disposable clothing.
“Throwaway clothes are becoming more popular in the fashion industry,” said Taylor Harrison. “You even see these inexpensive clothes in good stores. They are using very cheap material and they are very poor quality.”
“You can get three shirts for the price of one,” said Schulze. “But they don’t last very long because the material is so poor. It is very wasteful.”
The good friends became aware of how big the problem during a discussion in science class.
“We are the first generation experiencing this problem,” said Taylor Harrison. “It’s because of better technology that they can make these clothes so quickly and cheaply. When you are making all these clothes that can only be worn once or twice you are going to have problems. It is harmful to the environment and eventually you are going to run out of resources entirely.”
Working with Make It Your Own Boutique owner Julie Majkowski, the students learned how to recycle old clothes.
“Julie was the perfect person for us to partner with on this project,” said Dawn Harrison. “Her business is reclaiming old clothes and creating something new. She worked with the students and showed them how they could be creative and innovative.
“I really liked this project because it shows people that you don’t have to be a passive consumer. With a little effort you can find out a lot about where your clothes are coming from. We need to stop being self-centered and realize this is a global issue.”