News / USA

Students Dress for Success in School and Life

Faiza Elmasry
Each Monday at Mayfield Intermediate School in Manassas, Virginia, you'll find boys dressed in suits with ties and girls wearing dresses or skirts and blouses.

It's a far cry from the usual jeans and sweatshirts common in American classrooms.

Almost 700 students at Mayfield participate in the "Dress for Success" program, which educators believe can enhance students’ behavior and, they hope, achievement in school and in life.

Diana Otero, 10, is one of those students.  
 
“What am I going to wear to school today?” is what she asks herself each morning, but not on Mondays. That’s when she puts on a nice outfit that makes her feel "important and confident."

At school, Diana and the other well-dressed students attend their regular Monday classes and their activities  as usual.

This is Diana’s first year in the "Dress for Success" program. “I thought it would help me improve my grades.”

Doing better in school is also what attracted Shawn Arrigo.

“If you, like, feel good and you're, like, sitting and it's comfortable, you’re not going to have any problems focusing,” Shawn says, adding he does better in class when he’s dressed up. “It makes me feel more mature.”

It also makes him look like one of his role models, school principal Jeff Abt, who introduced the program three years ago.

“I think it presented a climate where the students say, ‘I’ve worked hard, I’m dressed in my best and I’m going to do my best on this day,’” Abt says.

Erika Redler, a teacher at the school, sees a big difference in student behavior on Mondays.

“The kids who dress for success are already in that, like, head-up, shoulder-back, good-morning kind of mood," she says. "They start the day off right. When they have that attitude, their behavior is usually better for the rest of the day.”

Redler sees the program as an opportunity to encourage students to take themselves seriously and improve their grades.

“When you’re taking yourself more seriously, then you’re probably going to be doing what you’re supposed to be doing in class, which means you’re going to be doing better at school," Redler says. "But I think we’re still working toward that goal.”

That’s why there are "Dress for Success" posters throughout the hallways, encouraging students to join the program. Abt says dressing up on Mondays doesn't require new or expensive clothing.

“Our kids come from different economic backgrounds," Abt says, "so if they wear a collared shirt, that will be considered Dress for Success."  

Abt hopes the lessons students learn through this program will help them make better decisions in high school and after graduation.

“If you go to an interview, you’re normally looking at your closet saying, ‘What’s the best thing in there to show that person I’m the best person for the job?’” he says.

His students are getting plenty of practice answering that question now, while they have fun dressing up and feeling like adults.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs