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Hardin band fashions old uniforms into trendy tote bags

May 1, 2019

They’re trendy, fashionable, and formed out of material that has already lasted a long time. Hardin High School band students are selling tote bags that are made from some of their old, high school uniforms.

Before calling the school board with complaints, the current uniforms aren’t on the cutting board. These are old uniforms that, otherwise, were headed for the dumpster.

“This is my first year as a high school band director,” said Glenn Zamazal who was hired at Christmas for the job when the previous director left.

Creative solutions

One of his first tasks was to see exactly what he had and inventory the equipment.

“We have a storage room in the band hall that had a lot of stuff in it,” he said, “and we were going through it to straighten it up and make it more orderly.”

Zamazal found the old uniforms that had been there for years and were of no use to the band.

“I thought, ‘How can I get rid of these in a positive way that the community will like and appreciate,’” he said to himself.

He didn’t want to just throw them in the trash and offend anyone that may have worn them in the past, so the director tried to figure out a way to reuse them.

Zamazal remembered an idea he had heard from another director who had turned their old uniforms into purses and bags.

“It turns out that the grandparent of one of our band members has a seamstress shop here in the area,” he said. He asked her if she would be willing to help them out and she agreed.

Carol Copeland has spent the last couple of months, ripping out seams, and cutting the material and creating two different designs to be sold.

“I made a template using a poster board,” she said, “and went to work.”

The grandmom, who sews professionally as a side job, said the biggest part of the job was just ripping out the seams and preparing the material for cutting and resewing into the bags.

“It was just time-consuming,” Copeland said.

Labor of love

After creating two different designs, one with a summer top to the uniform and another with the winter top, she began sewing.

The winter uniforms were a little harder to sew because of the thickness of the material.

One of the bags has the top of the uniform buttons down the front.

“Those were uniforms used when it was colder outside,” he said.

The second style has a stripe down it and was from the uniforms worn in warmer weather.

The inside lining and straps are made from the pants called “bibbers.”

Her mission was not to make money off the sale, but one of love for the band organization.

“I think one of the beneficial things is that this will help the band boosters and kids,” she said. Copeland has a grandson in the band and a daughter who also played in the band.

Community support

She saw it as an avenue to give back to her community.

“She made them for us for a good price and so we decided to sell them and make it into a fundraiser for us,” he said.

In the process, he got rid of the old uniforms, made some money for his band kids, and helped a local merchant with their business.

They purchased 25 of each of the two styles and they are selling like crazy.

“People are really liking them and they’re such good quality,” he said.

They’ve only been selling them for the last few weeks and hope to sell them all out by the end of the school year.

The bags are $40 each and can be purchased at the Hardin High School band hall for the time being.

Zamazal said many of the bags have been bought by parents, family members, or alumni who have heard about the sale on Facebook.

“They’re buying them for birthday, graduation, and even Christmas gifts,” he said.

Zamazal has been with the district as the middle school band director for five-and-a-half years.

Prior to coming to Hardin ISD, he taught math for six years in Liberty ISD.

He is a graduate of Liberty High School and Lamar University in Beaumont and plays French horn.

“I’m enjoying being the head band director and we have lots of plans for next year,” he said.

To purchase the bags, please contact Zamazal at the high school at 936-298-2118, ext. 210.

dtaylor@hcnonline.com

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