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This 'Project Runway' for fifth-graders makes us want to go back to school.

Shani Perez combined her love of teaching with her passion for fashion to help kids express their individuality.

This 'Project Runway' for fifth-graders makes us want to go back to school.
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Old Navy Back to School

When your school year ends like this, having to go back in the fall doesn't seem as bad.

In May, classrooms are full of kids daydreaming about finally being done with their last test and jubilantly running headlong into the nearest pool. School is something you look forward to running from, not toward — that is, unless you're moving down an actual runway.

At the end of every school year, instead of sitting around and staring at some dirty white fan oscillate back and forth, kids in Shani Perez's class at Public School 51 in New York City get up off their chairs and create a full-on runway fashion show.


Shani Perez with her students at PS 51. All images via Old Navy.

That's right, New York City's hottest underground fashion show is put on entirely by fifth-graders.

This underground fashion show otherwise known as "PS 51 Project Runway" is the brainchild of Shani Perez — an educator with a passion for fashion.

Perez is that teacher, the one you can't wait to see each day. She combines her love of teaching with her degree in fashion design to create a unique and engaging program for her students.

More than just a fashion show, this program teaches kids the fundamentals of fashion design, from drawing out concepts for portfolios to sewing and working with fabric. In addition, each show has a theme, like candy or history, that helps guide the young designers and foster creativity.

Perez joins other educators from across the country who partnered with Old Navy's cause platform ONward! to create an album of songs that encourages kids to let their unique selves shine through.

A project like this is about so much more than clothes.

Even if her students don't go on to careers in fashion or design, getting them involved in a large-scale project requires them to organize, delegate, and problem-solve — important life skills for anyone.

Plus, giving students the opportunity to show off an outfit they created themselves is an awesome way to promote self-confidence and individuality.

The songs are catchy and sure to get you strutting yourself, but the most important message of all is for the kids: Own your personal style, and be confident in your individuality.

It's educators like Perez who turn school into something more and events like PS 51 Project Runway that help kids discover who they are and what they — and a functional school-to-playdate ensemble — is made of.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

via Tom Ward / Instagram

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Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

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Back Market

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The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

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It's a lot. And it's a lot more now that we're also dealing with the daily existential dread of a global pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval, and increasingly intense natural disasters.

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Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

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