Instead of a yearbook, this Wichita teacher had her whole kindergarten class sign her dressPosted: Updated:
A kindergarten teacher at a "high trauma" school in Kansas had all of her students sign a white dress with fabric markers at the end of the year instead of a yearbook -- creating a beautiful, wearable work of art.
"I got a new dress I let them draw and express themselves through it," Ashley Hicks, 35, from Wichita told "Good Morning America" of the project. "All of the pictures are kind of unique, it expresses who they are."
"Our schools a little different, we are kind of listed as a high trauma school," she added. "I'm really passionate about building a school family and building relationships with your students."
The high trauma listing means the school takes in a lot of students with behavioral issues and also puts an emphasis on helping students "process things if something happens," according to Hicks.
Hicks class consists of 17 5- and 6-year-olds at Enterprise Elementary in Wichita, and she says she works hard to develop a personal relationship with all of them.
"Those relationships when you make them right when they're young, you never lose them," she said of her students.
Her students "loved" the project, Hicks said, adding that, "It was kind of hard stopping them from drawing on it."
She said she later changed into it at school and "wore it when I picked them up from the gym, and their faces were priceless."
"The dress was more for them than for me," she added. "When the media caught it, I thought it was important for them to know that they took part in it, I wanted to use it to uplift them."
"They go through so much," Hicks said. "They need that encouragement."
She said she also hopes her project encourages other teachers and helps them share ideas with each other.
"We have some of the hardest jobs, I think a lot of teachers don't get highlighted and they sacrifice so much," she said. "I guess if they have a gift and they are able to think outside of the box, share it."
From now on, Hicks says she plans to create a dress from her students "every year now."
"Hopefully I plan on wearing that dress to some of their graduations when they get older," she said.