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Trashion Show Mixes Sustainability with Style

As packaging from school supplies piles up seemingly endlessly, it inevitably gets discarded – but not at Plymouth Scholars Charter Academy. Instead, Art Teacher Jennifer Richardson saves the boxes, bags, and assorted materials for her students to put on a Trashion Show each year before Earth Day.
Students use recyclable materials to create a wearable, up-cycled outfit that they model and show off in the Trashion Show during a school assembly, helping raise awareness of reusing and recycling that creates new clothing out of unwanted items and helps Plymouth Scholars maintain its status as a Green School.
Plymouth Scholars student in Trashion Show.

“Students see how much waste is created every day and how some of it can be reused or recycled,” Richardson said. “This process helps students stretch their creative talents as they create new, exciting clothing out of unwanted items.”
At least 75% of the final piece in the Trashion Show should be recycled material. The event promotes the idea that recycled materials still hold value after their initial use and reduces waste in a fun way for students. 

Plymouth Scholars student in Trashion Show.

“The creativity the students bring to this event each year truly inspires me as a teacher,” she said. “I always look forward to the collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving goals set by the participants.”
Richardson has been at Plymouth Scholars since 2017 and previously taught at Ferndale Public Schools. When she had a child, she wanted to maximize her time in the first five years and left teaching. She jumped at the chance when an opening for art teacher at Plymouth Scholars came about, and when she finished the school year in 2017 as a guest teacher, she was asked to join the team full-time over the summer and has helped the school outperform the district for nine years.

Plymouth Scholars student in Trashion Show.

The inspiration that breeds art goes both ways between teachers and students, and keeps Richardson rejuvenated each school year.
“Art is the best when anyone tells me ‘I’m not an artist.’ Everyone has an inner artist somewhere,” she said. “If you’re not into drawing, you might be a sculptor. You might be someone who works well with clay, you might be interested in collage making. There are so many different types of art. It’s really amazing seeing someone say, ‘I really enjoy doing this; I guess I am an artist inside.’ There are so many different avenues you can pursue. The creativity is endless.”

Plymouth Scholars student in Trashion Show.
Keep up the excellent work, Mrs. Richardson!

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About Plymouth Scholars
Plymouth Scholars is a tuition-free, public charter school in Plymouth, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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