By PETER H. MILLIKEN
Students at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center observed Earth Day with a program that combined creativity with environmental education and entertainment.
The Friday program was the fifth annual Trash Bash, in which high school juniors and seniors designed, made and modeled costumes composed of recycled or discarded materials.
“It’s anything designed for the trash or that could be a recyclable,” said Melissa Hackett, interactive multi-media, visual arts and design instructor.
The IMM program trains students in arts such as graphic design, illustration, Web design, print production, film and video editing, and digital photography.
“The kids scavenge the entire building” in search of costume materials, use sewing machines to produce the costumes, and learn “how to be resourceful in the art field” and work together as a team, Hackett said.
Trash Bash costumes use puzzle pieces, old bandannas, videotape, wires, computer keyboard keys, soda cans and their tabs, bottle caps, garbage bags, newspaper and discarded ribbon from the horticulture training program.
Alex Broderick of Austintown, who graduated from the program a year ago and hopes to become a video- game designer, returned in what he described as a rogue costume consisting of body armor and a lighted helmet.
“I’m pretty much like a soldier,” he said of his outfit, which was inspired by a video game, and made from cardboard, duct tape, and paper. It was held together by buckles. “I have fun doing this,” he said of designing, making and modeling costumes.
“You don’t have to go out and buy a costume. Just make one,” he said.
Jillian Bailey, a junior from Alliance, appeared in a sailor costume made entirely from newspaper and a trash bag. Her hat and blouse were made from newspaper and her skirt from the trash bag.
Bailey said she enjoys “the opportunity to spread the word about recycling and bettering the environment.”
Never having made a costume before, Bailey said she’s “learned how to make clothing and how to take what I have and make something out of it.”
Participants entertained their fellow students, their parents and the center’s staff in the cafetorium
during two lunch periods, parading across the stage in their costumes in an event similar to a runway fashion show.
“My whole theme was a businesswoman that transforms into superwoman,” said Lexxie Hall, a senior from Youngstown whose jacket lapels and pockets were adorned with discarded computer keyboard keys. Hall said the Trash Bash has taught her “how much money we waste on materials that we could just make ourselves and save.”
Students will be graded on “their finished product” and for teamwork and participation, Hackett said.
At the back of the stage were student-made sculptures created from trash and recyclable materials, including one in the shape of a flower, which was made from a discarded sign, cardboard and bottle caps.
Projected on an overhead screen were various student-researched facts about air and water pollution and climate change and its impact on the environment.
Students began preparing for the show in January.
Interactive multimedia students were assisted with their hair and makeup by cosmetology students and with stage lighting by students in the electricity program.
Kim Lewis, an environmental educator with the county’s recycling division, which co-sponsors the Trash Bash, said she hopes the students learn to be resourceful.
“I want them to realize that a lot of the things people throw away are not disposable, but they are valuable resources that can be used over and over again. And these students are incredibly resourceful,” she concluded.