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‘Everyone Matters’

Students design, sell T-shirt that reflects their school

Wyoming — Designing a T-shirt for an economics lesson got Oriole Park Elementary second-graders thinking about what their school means to them and what they want others to know about their school.

“We are like a whole family,” said Victoria Duck, who liked a T-shirt design her class came up with of people holding hands and hearts and stars.

“The whole school is a whole family,” added Jayden Hernandez-Rafael.

“People have different skin colors here,” said Ana’nesycia Zuniga.

Students in teachers Kristen Accorsi-Johnson, Danielle Terpstra and Sarah  Buys-McKenney’s classes brainstormed and put their thoughts into designing a T-shirt to sell to family members. 

‘My mom and I can be all matchy and we can show other parents that Oriole Park is a safe school to bring their kids.’

– second-grader Audrey Scribner
(courtesy photo) Rolando Perez holds a T-shirt, packaged for delivery

Each class created a design and then all students voted on the final layout: diverse students standing over the words “Everyone Matters” and “Oriole Park Elementary School.” Students chose a deep purple for the shirts, representing the district’s school colors. 

The students sold 77 of the shirts for $17 each by posting them online and by bringing information home to parents. In doing so, they explored big concepts in economics: specialization, opportunity cost, natural, human and capital resources and scarcity. They also learned about selling products at the Wyoming High School Spirit Store and asked the older students who run the store about their process. 

“Those are really big concepts and big ideas,” Buys-McKenney said. “As vocabulary words, they don’t mean a lot to second-graders, but we got to practice (the concepts) through designing and talking about how the T-shirts were being made, and all the resources involved.

“They got to really be involved in the process to really understand what all those ideas really mean.”

Students also acted as “human resources” by delivering shirts to classrooms. 

‘If I want one Lego set and also want one Star Wars set, I probably have to choose. If I choose the Lego set, the opportunity cost is the Star Wars set.’

– second-grader Cameron Farris, explaining an economic concept

Other lessons related to economics included making sure you have your “needs” covered before you spend money on extras, said Jayden Reynolds.

Cameron Farris explained the concept of opportunity cost: “If I want one Lego set and also want one Star Wars set, I probably have to choose. If I choose the Lego set, the opportunity cost is the Star Wars set.”

The students said they are proud to be able to wear their shirts with each other and with their families.

“My mom and I can be all matchy and we can show other parents that Oriole Park is a safe school to bring their kids,” said Audrey Scribner.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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