Shelby County students dress for success

Josh Templeton tries unsuccessfully to convince the crowd at the Linda Nolen Learning Center that he is dressed properly for a job interview on April 15. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

Josh Templeton tries unsuccessfully to convince the crowd at the Linda Nolen Learning Center that he is dressed properly for a job interview on April 15. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)


By MOLLY DAVIDSON

PELHAM—Dressing for success was the theme of the morning at the Linda Nolen Learning Center in Pelham as a group of Project SEARCH and Chelsea High School students from Dora Montgomery and Cynthia Walker’s classes partnered for the annual Dress to Impress fashion show.

The LNLC serves children with significant special needs from across Shelby County, and the fashion show has become a tradition to help students learn what is appropriate to wear for a job interview as they prepare for their own mock interviews.

“We started this three years ago to help students learn what to wear and what not to wear to an interview,” Shelby County Schools job coach and fashion show coordinator, Cindy Vinson, said. “We’re so thankful to partner with Dora Montgomery for this.”

Montgomery and Walker’s students, along with the Project SEARCH students, modeled outfits of their own choosing, ranging from suits and pencil skirts to sweatpants and Hawaiian shirts, while Chelsea High School student band Days of Trent provided live entertainment.

The LNLC students were then invited to determine if outfits were appropriate or not, sending appropriately dressed students to the right side of the room, and those inappropriately dressed to the left.

Some of the outfits were challenging, such as the “party dresses” worn by several Chelsea High School girls. They pushed the LNLC students to differentiate between “looking nice” and “looking nice for an interview.”

This year’s fashion show also featured a special guest model, Sue Ann DeBoer. DeBoer is a Pelham High School alumna and has worked at the Pelham YMCA for 18 years, Vinson said.

“She has always wanted to be a model,” DeBoer’s job coach Heather Bell-Lawing said.

DeBoer modeled two outfits of her choosing, one featuring appropriate interview attire, and the other consisting of what she wears to work each day.

“I just love my job and I love everybody there,” DeBore said to the students gathered at the LNLC, whose own mock interviews are on April 23.

“[Sue Ann] is an inspiration to all of these students here,” Vinson said.