Students send scarves overseas

Adam Larck
Natasha Oakes, a senior, sews together a sand scarf to send to soldiers in Iraq.

The Individualized Sewing class has found a way to give back to the troops in Afghanistan.

Each student in the class recently made sand scarves to send to troops overseas. The scarves, which are 60 inches wide by 14 inches long, according to student teacher Melissa Keller, are used to protect soldier’s faces, neck and ears from dust, sand and insects, along with helping breathe easier in the desert.

“I actually thought of the sand scarf project one night after school as I was brainstorming different sewing projects my students could do,” Keller said. “The Individualized Sewing class is made up of all different levels of sewers (from beginner to advanced) so I wanted to come up with a project that would be enjoyable for everyone to do and hold everyone’s interest. I also wanted to find a project that would not take up much class time and was something we could complete within a week.”

Keller said that the students were excited about the project after finding out the scarves would go overseas.

“I thought it would be something nice to do, since the soldiers do so much,” junior Alanah Curless said.

Meanwhile, the project touched sophomore Mikayla Sutton a bit more on a personal level.

“I have friends in the Marines and I want to do it too, so I know it’s greatly appreciated,” she said.

To make the scarves, the class used a piece of sand-colored cotton fabric and sewed a zigzag stitch around the edge to keep it from fraying. Each student made one.

The scarves, 19 in all, have already been sent overseas to a friend of Keller serving in the Marines. Her friend, serving his second tour, and his unit will be using the scarves.

Now that the scarves have been sent, the girls are hoping to get a chance to see them in use.

“The students of the Individualized Sewing class and I are really hoping that once the sand scarves arrive in Afghanistan we are able to set up a date and time to Skype my friend and some of the other Marine soldiers,” Keller said. “I think that would be a great reinforcement for the students to see how they have used their sewing skills to make a difference in the lives of others and hopefully they will continue to use their sewing skills to help others in the future.”

The students already have some ideas of things to ask if they can Skype with the soldiers. Senior Jessica Chanto wants to see the surrounding the soldiers are in, while Kajol Patel, also a senior, wants to see how life is there and what they do.

Patel added that she hopes the soldiers enjoy the scarves and that they help.

Sophomore Rachel Pleasant said that the class has also made pajama pants and a baby quilt, but this is the first service project they have done.

Chanto said that they should do more service projects for groups throughout the year to give projects more meaning, and suggested possibly making potholders for cooks at the school.

For some people, the class is just another chance to sew. For others, such as sophomore Hannah Anderson, this is their first time sewing.

“I actually like it,” Anderson said. “It can be kind of stressful, but it’s fun.”