Kudos to Olympic High School for opening up a free clothing boutique this Friday, February 14th called The Olympic Outlet Boutique!!! Ms. Amanda Rhoden who teaches English II at Olympic High School got this genius idea from a college roommate who teaches in a neighboring city to Detroit, MI. and back in October, she told Amanda about a project she saw on the news and wanted to duplicate the free clothing boutique. Amanda loved the idea so much she started the wheels in motion and began receiving donations for the boutique a few months back, and that catapulted her students helping to assemble the Olympic Outlet Boutique walk-in closet.
One thing sticks out for Amanda, she loves teaching at Olympic because of the precious diverse student population, and in addition, Olympic is the 5th largest high school in the state!!! The premise of the story is wanting to help change the culture of the school. Amanda says, “Sure, part of the store’s purpose is to provide access to materials that some students might not have access to otherwise; however, it is NOT for “these kids, or those kids.” It is for ALL students, which is why we are putting so much effort into making it a boutique. Maybe a student needs something for an interview, date, presentation, practice, dress clothes for athletics, everyday clothes, clothes to express themselves, clothes to try a different style, clothes to just feel better about wearing, or clothes that are not (if there were like me in school) hand me downs from older siblings. Our mission statement is this: To care for the whole student by providing a space where all Olympic students have access to retail items, ultimately promoting a sense of pride, confidence, independence and encouraging freedom of expression. Our goal is to have students feeling better than when they did upon entering. The response, involvement, and generosity of the community and local businesses have been overwhelming and we are excited about the ongoing partnerships we have built with businesses like Lowe’s and Belk. High school is stressful enough, we are hoping to make the high school experience even better for our students here at OHS. In addition, we are helping build camaraderie, as well as, life skills with our students who are taking leadership and ownership in helping to run the store on a daily basis. Part of our 5-year vision is to price everything out and give students a budget and work with the Personal Finance teachers to help give students the life skill of budgeting…but that is far down the road.”
Amanda has been teaching for 16 years and this project excites her, her colleagues and students. The hard work is still taking place, but Friday is the unveiling of something spectacular and maybe other schools will take the example to heart and build a boutique, too! Email Amanda, the lead on the project if you have any questions. She’s also on the Board of Directors Olympic Outlet.