BY SYDNEY ALTMAN
Our society is fascinated with fashion, entertainment, and reality television. All three of these obsessions combine effortlessly in series such as How Do I Look or Extreme Makeover. Though these makeover shows may seem superficial on the outside, they actually provide hope, growth, and confidence for the women or men who are transformed. Audiences gawk at how the participants used to dress, and then within an hour are left amazed at the beauty the participants exude – both inside and out – after their new looks are revealed. Taking these magical moments as inspiration, the Cooper City High School Fashion Club decided to makeover a deserving teacher in order to foster confidence and to provide a fresh take on life.
Since the fashion club was founded during 2010-2011 school year, the members knew they needed to put on great projects to attract more members and interest among the student body. Rather than putting on candy sales or car washes, the fashion club decided to plan something fun that would have an impact on people.
The planning began months ago when fashion club sponsor Linda Snider emailed CCHS staff members to see who would be interested in the makeover. The email generated a lot of interest and within a few days, an overwhelming amount of teachers – both men and women – contacted Snider to participate. Because they could only make one transformation, Snider and the fashion club narrowed the list down to the top four who they felt were most deserving of the makeover, which included Assistant Principal Julie Biancardi, English teacher Suzanne Margolin, art teacher Katherine Sharp, and guidance counselor Beverly Childs.
“We narrowed our search and basically it was whether the person had the capability of making a huge change,” Snider said. “The fashion club wanted to get the staff involved.”
In order to decide which finalist would get the makeover, CCHS students voted by dropping loose change into the designated bins and the teacher who earned the most money would be whisked away for the makeover of a lifetime. As the money was counted, the winner was clear: Sharp won the amazing opportunity.
“I needed the makeover more than I wanted it,” Sharp said. “There was a disconnect between what I thought I looked like and what my husband thought I looked like; he was right.”
As one of CCHS’s best art teachers, Sharp realized that she allowed her outer appearance to gradually falter. When she first started teaching, she wore professional clothes – heels, skirts, dresses, etc. But the artistic medium she and her students worked in were not ideal for a fashionable wardrobe, causing her to start wearing jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. The makeover came at the perfect time for Sharp because it reinvigorated a love for fashion before she heads off on a vacation to New York, the fashion capital of the United States.
“I was so excited,” Sharp said. “When I got the phone call I was thrilled. I didn’t know that I was going to get a free outfit, which was glorious, or that I was going to be getting all of that the pampering. The fashion club is amazing.”
The makeover was a two-part process: Day one consisted of a new head to toe outfit and day two was the day of pampering. The fashion club used their personal connections to obtain donations from JC Penny’s for Sharp’s new outfit and from Attitudes Salon for her fresh hair, nails, and makeup. When her whole look was unveiled, the smile that emerged on Sharp’s face was blinding. Sharp got the celebrity treatment and was so grateful. Before her experience came to a close, fashion club founder and president, senior Sara Miller, made sure to provide Sharp with tips in order to maintain her new look.
“I learned so much, that’s the thing that I am excited about most of all,” Sharp said. “I learned that I can put some makeup on that I never thought I could and I learned some new techniques. What’s probably most important to me is that I can wear colors that I never thought I could.”
The fashion club hopes to make this project an annual occurrence due to its success and popularity. Unlike fashion trends that change daily, makeovers will never go out of style.