Needles and Strings


Art/Photo by Sullivan Kolakowski

Through the hardships that come with fashion and design, however, students learn to persevere and problem-solve. West High’s program offers so much more than needles and strings- it offers opportunities that can’t be seen anywhere else, preparing students for all the best and worst things their futures have to offer.

Sarah Han, News Editor

   Walking into Room 2117, you can hear the whirring of sewing machines, shuffling of paper, and passionate voices discussing the dozens of upcoming projects. Under Mrs. Cantrell’s guidance, West High’s fashion program hosts some of the most talented students on campus, as the Costume & Wearable Arts and Fashion & Merchandising classes pave students’ futures. 

   Costume and Wearable Arts is the beginning level course that all new students begin with. According to Mrs. Cantrell, the class focuses primarily on “clothing design, construction, and basic elements of the fashion industry.” Another big focus of the class is fashion history, which teaches students to observe how fashion has been both “recycled” and made anew over time. The class ends the year by redesigning an older piece to fit a different time period, analyzing the continuity and change that has been brought about by time. Upon finishing the class, students are given college credit and become industry certified, opening more doors for students hoping to build a career in fashion.

   Fashion & Merchandising students build on the basics that they have learned and go even further into learning about the fashion industry so that they can consider career opportunities within it that may not be as well known as fashion design. Their end-of-the-year project is the West High Fashion Show, where students will be coordinating the event and creating all the designs in order to “get a taste of the industry” and “find their voice” in accordance with this year’s theme, “World of Wonders.”

   This past February, five West High students placed from second to sixth place at the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Regionals competition. Among those winners was Kylie Dawson (12), who had won first place in last year’s state-wide competition and had placed second in Nationals. Dawson explained that the program changed her life. The program helped her receive a scholarship and a place in the Fashion Institute of Design  Merchandising and inspired the beginning of her business, KY Couture. “It taught me to follow your dreams if you love something… This class gave me a newfound perspective on life and gave me purpose,” she said. 

   As a first year teacher at West High, Mrs. Cantrell claimed that she struggled with helping students adjust to higher levels of learning after they were forced to learn such a hands-on activity online. However, she claimed that West High’s program was set apart by the enthusiasm of its students. “The students want to be here… Even though there are hard times, they’re finding how fun it can be,” she added.