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Indianapolis high school class creates boutique to serve other students

A class at Christel House Manual High School is providing students a hands-on experience in business.

INDIANAPOLIS — A class at Christel House Manual High School is giving students a hands-on experience in business.

The students in Robin Clark's entrepreneurship class have used their skills to open a boutique inside the school to serve their classmates. It's turned into a win-win for everyone.

"I think the best way to teach them is hands-on. You can't teach entrepreneurship out of a book," Clark said. "And so because I have a background in entrepreneurship, it just seemed like a really easy transition."

Students in her class spent the first semester learning about business, marketing and developing concepts. This semester, they started their own business: a boutique inside the classroom to serve other students.

Student Jada Parker loves the approach.

"It's really just a place that if you need some help, like for any circumstances, rather that be financial or just something happened at school and you need a change of clothes, it's a real good place to just get that," Parker said.

Students in the class collected all the donations from family and friends, even other teachers in the school.

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The late businesswoman Christel DeHaan even gifted boxes of her high-end clothes to the school.

Senior Abigail Hernandez said the experience is perfect for her. She may not go to college, and instead, would use the experience to open her own business.

"We had to get all the donations first," Hernandez said. "Then, we started doing flyers, we started doing posters, and we have been talking about the boutique with other students, so they can at least know that ... here is like clothes that they can come and see."

Students can use the boutique anonymously and free of charge.

Clark said the goal is to help the students any way they can and not make them feel embarrassed by the help.  

"Nobody will know that you will have visited the closet unless you're comfortable saying, 'Hey, you know, I have an interview. I went to the closet, I found something that is appropriate for me to wear,'" Clark said.

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Ash Sandlin said students can use the store for any reason.  

"Manual has a lot of low-income families. And personally, they don't have washers and dryers at home," Sandlin said. "So, if they don't have the time to do laundry at a laundromat, they can come in and just take clothes off the rack, instead of freaking out over not having clean clothes." 

Right now, the students are collecting prom clothing.

If you or someone you know has girls or boys prom attire, they would love you to consider donating it to the boutique.

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