Students with drawings and dolls

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Students at South Jefferson Elementary School (SJE) saw their imaginations come to life thanks to some help from the FACS (Family Consumer Sciences) fashion class at Washington High School (WHS). The project was inspired by SJE art teacher Sheryl Fiolek, who worked with her second-grade students to draw their own superheroes. The drawings went to the WHS FACS class, where FACS teacher Kathy Magaha had students create patterns, then hand-stitch the superheroes as dolls. She said it was a perfect fit for both groups. 

"All little kids have this image of a superhero they aspire to be," Magaha said. "I thought this would be perfect for smaller kids to design their own superhero, and then my kids would take that and turn it into a pattern and replicate their artwork."

It took about three weeks to create the dolls once the drawings were received, and Fiolek said her students were ecstatic about working with older kids, asking about the timeline every day for weeks.

"If you think about project-based learning and students being inspired, knowing that the high schoolers were going to see these and create these for them and so, of course, these elementary students wanted to try their best."

Magaha brought her FACS students to SJE on Thursday, May 4, to present their creations to the second graders in person. WHS eleventh-grade student Kassie Whitmer said it was a thrill.

"I was so excited to come and bring the superheroes today, to see his reaction." 

Whitmer worked with second-grade student Tommy Estrada on the project. She described the process of taking the superhero Estrada designed and turning it into a physical object, a process she said took about three weeks to complete.

"We'd have to find the right color fabric, and then we'd sew it and flip it inside out and stuff it." 
Whitmer said they eventually had to sew the dolls again before drawing on specific details at the end of the project. Witmer and Estrada collaborated again Thursday when FACS students worked with the younger students to create backstories for their heroes. Estrada said his superhero has lots of powers.

Whitmer and Estrada

"He's a shapeshifter, he can jump high, he can run fast, he's electric, he can fly, and he's nice."

Whitmer was glad Estrada was pleased with the result. 

Stottlemyer and Williams

"I drew Miss Girly Pop. She flies and can teleport." -  Harper Stottlemyer Second Grade, SJE

"It was really fun! I liked Harper's because I like the red and I thought the heart was really cute."- Gabriella Williams Junior, WHS

Nelson and Pratt

"His name is Speed Boy. He can fly and he is fast!" - Zethan Nelson Second-grade, SJE

"I worked so hard on it, and I was worried he wouldn't like it, but he did!" - Anastasia Pratt Senior, WHS