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Colorful dress sketches

Creativity Is Key For Veteran Educator Therese Chadbourne

Enthusiastic…dedicated…these are two adjectives that definitely describe Therese Chadbourne. This Akron, Ohio educator is more than committed to her students’ success. Not only does she create inspiring projects for her students, she spends time cultivating relationships within her community in order to benefit them.

This veteran educator currently teaches both Fashion and Interior Design at Firestone Community Learning Center in Akron. “I have my students for three years and they take a total of four courses over that time. We are on a block schedule. I have my seniors every day, juniors and sophomores every other day,” Ms. Chadbourne explains.

Creativity is key when teaching these courses. Ms. Chadbourne reveals that her favorite assignment is the red carpet fashion show her students produce each spring. Of course, there is work involved. “As a class, we go on a field trip to Village Thrift. Each student is given $10.00. They must buy a garment or two that they can repurpose into a new garment. They are required to have two outfits for the fashion show. The second outfit can be made from scratch—sewn, knitted, crocheted—whatever they choose,” she says.

Colorful jacket design

Prior to teaching, Ms. Chadbourne worked in the embroidery industry for twenty-one years. Her expertise definitely provides her students with real-world insights. When students ask her about working in the fashion industry, she encourages them to follow their dreams. “There are so many opportunities in the world of fashion,” she explains. “Keep a journal/sketchbook with all your ideas that one day could come to fruition. It is an opportunity to use your imagination and see it come to life.”

Ms. Chadbourne goes beyond classroom resources in order to assist her students. Thrift stores and estate sales provide essential materials at incredibly affordable prices—or, no price at all. “I went to the last day of an estate sale and they had one whole room dedicated to sewing—anything you could imagine. I asked what they were going to do with what did not sell. They called me that night and said it was all mine. There were probably twenty huge black trash bags full of materials. What a gold mine!” she exclaims. Ms. Chadbourne also tells of kind donations that are dropped off at her school’s front office for her classes. “I am so grateful, since we are always watching our budget,” she says. “We have a wonderful community around our school that is always willing to donate.”

Ms. Chadbourne uses a number of FIDM Educator Resources in her classroom. “I love being able to rely on FIDM for areas I am not as comfortable teaching,” she explains. FIDM College Representative Marlena Battle is invited yearly to share about careers in the fashion industry. Ms. Chadbourne also utilizes many of the Games That Teach throughout the school year. “I love the Just or Educators page (located on the FIDM website),” she says. “Sometimes I use it just to reinforce what I have taught. I love that the content is so fresh and appealing. Thank you so much for all these materials!”

Teaching and encouraging her students is part of Ms. Chadbourne’s soul. “The impact a teacher has on students is just incredible. Students have so many challenges and obstacles in their way today, and I like to think I am one adult they feel they can trust,” she explains.

When not busy in the classroom, Ms Chadbourne enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her two sons and nine siblings. She also enjoys working on her own creative projects and visiting the beach when the weather cooperates.

Learn more about FIDM’s Games That Teach.