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Studio 31 opens at Verbena High

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Verbena High School and community partners have come together to establish Studio 31, a boutique-style room for students needing an outfit.

Soon after opening, Studio 31 was able to help students who had been soaked by heavy rain as they walked into the building.

“We wanted to call it a boutique, because we didn’t want them to be embarrassed to come here,” school counselor Kim Benson said.

The concept grew out of a desire to help students have professional clothing for the school’s mock interviews for seniors as well as job and scholarship interviews, Benson said.

“In addition, our nurse Shannon Miller has always kept a few clothes in her office for emergencies,” Benson said. “Then, she and I got to talking and we thought it would be great to have a room with clothes in all sizes.”

A community member, who wishes to remain anonymous, came on board to help bring the idea into reality.

Agricultural teacher David Sneed and Assistant Principal Mark Cleckler worked to renovate the area and adjoining bathroom, giving students a place to try on clothes.

“This room was actually going to be a teacher’s lounge, and the teachers graciously gave up the room,” Benson said.

Churches, community organizations, businesses and individuals have donated items to the project.

“We have had just a ton of community support,” Principal Tammy Hand said.

The room now holds clothing ranging from pageant-style dresses to jeans in a variety of sizes arranged in attractive looking displays. Hygiene products, accessories and school supplies are also available.

While the boutique will help students who are in need, it is open to all students. Benson gave the example of a student who has what they need day-to-day but is wanting a special outfit for Easter or a dance.

Some students have also brought clothes to trade for items in the boutique.

All of the items are provided free of charge to the students. Students can keep the outfits they pick out.

The resource became available to students in January.

An open house and tours for students were hosted on March 6. Lizzy Walker, who is a junior, introduced the students to the space. She is volunteering at the boutique during her school flex time.

“I have always wanted to do something like this that would help our school,” Walker said.

Hanah Connell, who is a junior, is also helping keep the clothes organized.

During the open house, students were excited to see everything that was available. Walker said some were shocked that there were so many items available.

Items are tagged so that the school can keep track of just how often the boutique is being used.

Walker said she want to thank “Ms. Hand and Ms. Benson and Mr. Cleckler for supporting this and letting us do this and a thank you to Ms. (Ruth) Easterling for baking the cookies and making sure we had treats for all the kids” at the open house.