Hailey Urbanoski is helping others one stitch at a time.
The 17-year-old Wellington student has been using her savvy with a needle to help international charities and outfit school performers.
“She has a real passion and talent for sewing and she’s also used that to contribute to the community internationally with her charity work as well as to the school, using her talents to help with costuming for our shows and peer tutoring in the sewing classes,” said school counsellor Kate Gustafson, who finds even the teachers go to Urbanoski for a hand with sewing.
Urbanoski, who comes from two generations of sewers, took up the needle when she was seven but it wasn’t until an eighth grade sewing class that she became hooked.
“I got more interested in it, like being able to sew my own clothes … and then I got the idea of making costumes,” said Urbanoski.
She has made costumes for school plays, like the Wizard of Oz, and made her own when she danced in ballet and jazz for Kirkwood Academy. When she had to quit dance for health reasons, she decided she wanted to continue with costuming. She enjoyed being backstage, seeing the costumes and how they looked on people.
This year she earned third place in the Skills Canada B.C. competition for fashion technology, which she said is “pretty cool” and she’s getting ready to start her costuming for stage and screen diploma at Capilano University this September with dreams of being a costume designer for ballet and musical theatre productions, or the opera.
It’s not just costumes that Urbanoski has laboured over.
She’s also created 30 pillow-case dresses for Little Dresses for Africa, to help make little girls feel valued, and earlier this year she made the charity more than two dozen reusable sanitary napkins.
“I just liked the idea of helping girls to continue to go to school because that’s one of the reasons why girls in third world countries drop out of school is because of their period and they are embarrassed by it. I didn’t want girls to have to go through that,” she said.
Urbanoski has also been in guides for 13 years, helping to do things like run camps and show younger girls the trick to packing and being a guide, and according to Gustafson, she’s the person staff go to to help give new students tours because she’s “welcoming and warm.”
As for how the teen will be remembered?
“I think they’ll remember me as the girl who’s always in the sewing room,” said Urbanoski.
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