Deann Hebert teaches family and consumer sciences at Des Moines East High School. She and her students participate in ISU Extension and Outreach’s “Stitch This!” 4-H Design Challenge at the Iowa State Fair. Deann says:
East High School is a really big, urban high school. We have lots of different kinds of students here. We have students that are involved in athletics, students that are involved in drama, and we also have students that really love the arts. They love to sew and they love to create things.
When I heard about the Stitch This contest, I knew that I had a group of students that would really like to do this kind of thing and would really excel in it. Students use skills that they’ve learned in class in a competition. … They learn teamwork skills, leadership skills, and then they take the sewing skills that they have and they are able to work together and actually make a product that they’re very proud of.
4-H and Extension … anticipate what students and 4-H’ers need. There are lots of students that want to be a part of something. It’s just an extra thing that can get them started and be successful. Almost always, if kids are successful in one thing, that leads to something else where they will be successful. When they’re successful in my sewing classes, then they participate in 4-H, and then they participate in the Stitch This contest and have some success there. That helps them be more confident, be more willing to think about going to college, be more willing to think about the career options that are out there for them. It’s kind of like a stair-step thing that students go through, and it starts here.
This is something that is very current, very trendy; the kids love it. And that’s where 4-H and Extension need to be — at what’s going on right now in our world, for our students and for our 4-H’ers.