LHS students create jean shoes for children in Uganda

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, May 26, 2021

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Sometimes teaching goes beyond the classroom. In the case of the students in Melanie Reams Teaching as a Profession class, it is in the soles.

In conjunction with the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, students in Reams’ LaGrange High School Teaching as a Profession class have been collecting used jeans from their own closets and from teachers at school, to create shoes for the Sole Hope organization.

The students involved in the project are interested in going into teaching, Reams said, and become part of the Leadership Academy through Chick-fil-A.  As part of the Leader Academy, students involved go through learning labs and are required to do an impact project at the end of each year.

The shoes will be given to help individuals in Uganda who suffer from a dermatologic infestation called “jiggers,” which is often transmitted through the feet and can cripple those who are impacted.

The focus for Reams’ class is for Uganda’s youngest residents, she said.

“We are only making them for little toddlers,” Reams said.

Students began cutting and designing blue jean designs for the shoes last week and have surpassed their previous 20 shoe goal.

This service project teaches students involved to lead in all facets as they learn to go beyond the walls of the classroom, said Mike Pauley, who has facilitated the learning lab at LaGrange High School for four years.

“The whole point is to have impact through action,” Pauley said.

“The concepts each week are really cool things for the kids to be in discussion about.”

Students who participated in the project, like ninth grader Lexi Vanhoose, noted the project’s impact on children who aren’t as fortunate as them.

“It kind of made me feel bad at first,” Vanhoose said. “In America, most of the time you have everything you need. You never have never had shoes … it kind of makes you feel bad that other countries aren’t like that.”

Many of the students involved have prior community service experience, Pauley noted.