If you buy the tennis shoes, students at Eagle River High School will paint the designs on them.
The project is called, “Soled Out,” and it is the brainchild of Amy Peters, the librarian at ERHS.
Peters organized the effort after discovering that more than 70 local area kids are in need of tennis shoes.
“It is a bit shocking in a community such as Eagle River to learn that there are students that don’t have some of the basics such as a pair of tennis shoes,” Peters said. “I had to do something.”
True to an educator’s role, Peters decided to get students involved in the project. But she didn’t just include high school students.
Because Peters wanted the donated tennis shoes to be decorated in a way elementary students would value, she reached out to her counterpart at Eagle River Elementary School, Elaine Daw, for help. Peters believed that other elementary age students would be more in touch with the fashion sense of the intended recipients of the tennis shoes.
“I had met Elaine at a training event earlier in the year and I loved her energy,” Peters said. “I knew she was who I wanted to work with.”
Daw – a long-time elementary school librarian who embraces emerging technology and is well known as a “go-getter” when it comes to supporting “kid-oriented” projects – immediately accepted the assignment from Peters to have elementary students create their own designs on paper templates of tennis shoes.
“They all had such creativity,” Daw said. “And what they drew was from the heart.”
On Friday, Dec. 2, several of those designs that will guide the final creation of these “one-of-a-kind” shoes were on display in the hands of their creators as Anchorage School District technology instructors filmed public service announcements at a mock studio in the ERE school library.
Granted, the cameras and lights were a bit daunting for the three students from fifth and sixth grade chosen for the PSA that will be used to promote the project.
“You are doing great,” Ross Johnson, technology instructor, told the students. Johnson, a former long-time teacher at Homestead Elementary School, understands the jitters a fifth or sixth grade student might feel being filmed for the first time. Part of his job in the school district is to help elementary students be more comfortable with technology no matter which side of the camera they happen to be on. “That was really good,
but this next time, speak up more so we can hear you very loud and clear.”
As Daw and Peters watched the PSA filming, both had a sparkle in their eyes that seemed to indicate their acknowledgment that the project, “Soled Out,” was taking one more step toward the reality of new shoes on the feet of local students.
For now, Peters awaits the arrival of shoes to ERHS so that her students can begin painting designs ranging from rainbows to flowers to sunshine rays to stripes. on the shoes through the school’s new MakerSpace – a program through which students are encouraged to be innovative using everything from old motors and robots to sewing machines and knitting supplies to make new creations.