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T-shirts add color to end of school year
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Warren Academy has celebrated the end of the 2011-12 school year in a colorful way. Students were allowed to make their own tie dye T-shirt.
This is the second year for the event.
“Students really enjoyed it last year,” said Tavia Hardee, the school’s licensed professional counselor. “The first thing students asked us this year was ‘Are we doing tie dye again this year?’ Yes, we are.”
Hardee and school psychologist Jayna Dotson took over the school’s group counseling sessions two years ago. They say what did focus strictly on anger management now includes much, much more.
“We wanted to revamp the program and make it more encompassing,” said Dotson. “The program isn’t always anger management. Sometimes, they lack the skills necessary to deal with everyday stresses. We work on social skills and family relationships in a group setting.”
Group sessions allow students to: talk about problems they are having, discuss decisions made and the consequences of those, and work on alternative decisions in order to achieve better outcomes.
The school is an alternative school, which means students who had difficulty at Warren County High School are sent there. Dotson says she understands there is a public perception that students who attend Warren Academy are bad.
“However, it’s just not true,” Dotson said. “These are good kids who have made bad decisions. The decisions are bad. Not the kids.”
Hardee says talking about feelings is the last thing some of the students want to do.
“The first month some just don’t want to do group sessions,” said Hardee. “It takes about a month for them to open up. Then, they decide that they want to join in and make changes in their lives. It’s an awesome transformation to be able to see.”
Only students successfully completing group sessions are allowed to tie dye a shirt at the end of the year. The shirts are then hung on the fence in front of the school to dry, which does bring attention from passing motorists.
“We have gotten calls from people wanting to know if they are for sale,” said Dotson. “No, they aren’t for sale. What they are is a reward for these students who don’t always get the recognition and credit they deserve. They have to earned it, and they enjoy wearing them to school.”
Dress code at the school is usually navy-colored shirt and Kaki pants.
“It gives them a break from the normal dress code and a chance to express themselves,” said Hardee. “Some of them are hesitant about making their own shirt, but they get into it and enjoy the finished product.”