Uniforms will help convey school and civic pride –
Story by Patricia Beech –
Photo by Mark Carpenter –
School uniforms usually associated with private and parochial schools, are now gradually making their way into career- centered schools across the country. This year students and staff at the Adams County Career and Technical Center will join the growing number of vocational schools who have adopted uniform programs.
“These aren’t traditional polo-and-khaki school uniforms as people usually think of them,” said Jason Vesey,principal at the CTC. “They’re industry standard uniforms, they’re program-specific, and they’re designed to be identical to what professionals in the industry would wear when they’re on the job.”
Students and staff are required to wear the uniforms Monday through Thursday. Street clothes may be worn on Fridays unless there are specific school functions that prohibit it. “If the students have a special event on Friday, or if they’re going out into the community, or if the program instructors request it, they will wear the uniforms,” said Vesey.
Uniform basics include polo shirts and t-shirts featuring the school’s Pioneer mascot. Each student will be issued four color-coded shirts specific to their program of study, free of charge.
“Each program’s uniforms will be a different color to help identify students by their field of study,” said Vesey. “Students will also be given the option to purchase additional clothing, such as hoodies, hats, and jackets in their program’s color, with their logo.”
According to Vesey, the uniform policy was generated by the school’s advisory committee which includes local business and industry leaders. “After the first of the year we met with the committee to discuss the programs and what they need to do to remain current and to improve,” said Vesey. “One of the suggestions brought to us from multiple advisory committees was that our students should be noticed in the community as representatives of our school. Other vocational schools and Career Centers have uniforms for their students, and the committee thought since our kids go out into the community to work, uniforms would step up our game.”
After researching several uniform providers, the school chose Aramark Uniform Services.
“It would be difficult for a local mom and pop t-shirt store to provide this kind of service because we’re looking at real industry-standard uniforms, and to do it on a massive scale and have any kind of cost reduction we felt we needed to go with a nationally known outfit,” added Vesey. “We spent some time investigating where we could get the best bang for our dollar, and Aramark was the company we finally settled on. They really went out of their way to meet us and make this project take off.”
The Ohio Valley School Board provided funds to jump start the uniform policy in its first year, but going forward, the CTC will be required to sustain the program.
“We have several fund-raising ideas to help meet sustainability costs, and that process will start at the beginning of the school year,” said Vesey. “We’re grateful to the board and Mr. Seas for agreeing that this is a great thing and helping us to get it started. We’re already thinking about how we’re going to make our purchases next year.”
Parents of CTC students will have an opportunity to ask questions about the program on Back-to-School night, Thursday, Aug. 11 at the CTC.
“We’re trying to get the word out,” said Vesey. “This is a new program and there’s going to be challenges and questions. We’re asking our students and parents to work with us as we go through the growing pains of this process, and we’re hoping it will be popular with families because it will mean they have to buy fewer clothes.”
The school will begin taking uniform orders during Back to School Night. Vesey said the school will also make t-shirts available for sell to the public.
“We’re hoping to show our pride in the CTC by having our colors and logo out there in the community,” he said. “And it’s also a way to help us sustain our uniform program.”
Information about the uniform program can be found on the CTC Facebook page. “It’s been the most shared and tagged post on our page,” said Vesey. “I think we’re more than ready to take on this challenge and sustain it in the future.”