Irmo, SC - Students from Irmo Middle School International Academic Magnet are taking on a special project to raise money for charity.
Students in Carla DuPre’s special needs classroom are working on an enterprise project called the Yellow Jacket Paracord Bracelets. Paracord is short for parachute cord, a lightweight nylon rope that was used during World War II. It had to be strong to support men on a parachute and it also had many other purposes for the soldiers once they were on the ground.
“This stemmed from our social studies class when we were talking about resources necessary to start a business,” DuPre said. “The article we were reading was about a lemonade stand, but the students felt they were too old to do that so I suggested making the paracord bracelets because I had made them years ago with another one of my classes and they loved the idea!”
The students watched tutorial videos on how to make the bracelets. They also put together a PowerPoint presentation for their principal Cassy Paschal in order to get seed money to start the project.
“Ms. DuPre is always looking at ways to bring instruction alive and also ways to integrate all four core content areas into her classroom,” Paschal said. “With the paracord bracelets, it encompasses reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. The project also incorporates career related skills as well as soft skills so it is just an exciting project.”
Ms. DuPre added, “I really like this project because it is teaching the students that they can learn outside of a book. Our students are learning communication skills and to work collaboratively with their peers. It is also helping address their transition goals and helps get them prepared for the real world by providing them job and work experience.”
The students are now making the bracelets in their class with the intention to sell them at lunch and recess to raise money for the Irmo Middle School food pantry. Eighth grade student Heidi Black said the project is fun and her favorite part is tying the bracelets together.
“It takes a lot of strength, focus and patience to make these bracelets,” Black said. “We are happy that through this project we are helping other people out.”
Paschal added, “It makes me really proud to see these students successful and to feel a part of their education and their school.”
School District Five serves more than 2,400 special needs students annually. The Office of Special Services provides leadership in the planning and implementation of services for students with disabilities in School District Five. Award-winning initiatives for these students include Project SEARCH and BOOM (Building Occupational Opportunities in the Midlands). Project SEARCH is a business-led school-to-work transition model with demonstrated success in developing internships for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are in their last year of high school.