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

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    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.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora