Future Teachers Pick Out Free Professional Clothes

Aspiring educators get new clothes.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Future teachers are getting a helping hand when it comes to their wardrobe.

On Tuesday night the Palmetto State Teachers Association (PSTA) held a clothing give-away, where they provided professional-looking threads for free.

"Currently I am unemployed," explained Amanda Hilgert.

Hilgert is a senior at the University of South Carolina. She is currently student teaching, which doesn't leave much time for a part time job. 

"Finding clothes for me has been very difficult," says Hilgert. "I typically go to second hand stores like Plato's closet and Clothes Mentor."

However, tonight she made a stop by the PSTA where she was able to pick out a few sweaters and cardigans.
  
"It's kind of expensive to buy a new wardrobe," says Kathy Maness, executive director of the PSTA.

Maness says they partnered with the USC Teaching Fellows and the Dutch Fork High School Teaching Cadets to create the Teacher's Clothing Closet 
  
"We have had some wonderful people to donate clothes that they can use when they interview to get that all important teaching job or when they're in the classroom that they can wear."

Kimberly Smoak with the USC Teaching Fellows says students are expected to dress professionally, but not everyone has the money to do so.
  
"If we're going to ask them to conduct themselves that way, we need to provide them with every opportunity to be dressed appropriately," says Smoak. "It helps their confidence, it helps set them apart from students, and it helps them just to start establishing that professional demeanor."
  
"I picked up some ties, nice dress shirts, pants," says Davontae Singleton.

Singleton is in the Master's program at USC and is also student-teaching.
  
"Money starts to get a lot more tight," says Singleton. "We don't have the flexibility to go out and work as much as we want to, so just having resources like this helps us out a lot."
 
"My professors always tell me that 'You make an impact on a school as soon as you walk in the door.' So this opportunity is really great," says Hilgert.

This is the first time for the teacher's association organized the clothing closet. More than 30 students got a few new outfits during the event.


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