Costumes Bring Curriculum to Life at Westlake Elementary

May 2024

Sixth-grade social studies teacher Karen Witherite wanted to find a way to make ancient history feel more real for her students.

“I like to do hands-on activities in my classroom,” the Westlake Elementary teacher said. “One of the topics we talked about during the school year was daily life in medieval times. There was a play activity where each group got a topic and each person received a role to talk about. The reason I wanted the costumes was so that the students could get into the plays more and feel like they look like the people did during that time.”

Costumes cost money, however – money that wasn’t in Miss Witherite’s classroom budget. As they have for so many teachers in our district, the Wayne Township Education Foundation and DonorsChoose stepped in to fill the gap.

Miss Witherite used funding from WTEF and DonorsChoose to purchase costumes that help take her students back in time: togas, belts, and headbands. The simple clothing helps create excitement about the lives of those who lived in the past.

“Whenever I pulled out the costumes they all cheered and got super excited for the plays. They all wanted to dress up to feel like the people during the time period.”

Bringing the curriculum to life – it’s a key element of the mission of the Wayne Township Education Foundation.

“Any time I hear students becoming more excited about the curriculum because of our help, I know we’re succeeding,” said WTEF Executive Director Lisa Baize. “The costumes Miss Witherite has been able to provide for her students are a wonderful example of this.”

The Wayne Township Education Foundation (WTEF) provides community leadership to enrich, engage, and stimulate teaching and learning in the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township. WTEF accomplishes this by supporting school programs and resources, while recognizing excellence among students and staff. To learn more about WTEF, call 317-988-7966, visit, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @WayneTwpEdFound.