North Rowan Middle student creates costumes for ‘Aladdin Jr.’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 4, 2017

By Christy Brayton

North Rowan Middle School

SPENCER — As Christmas approached last year, the only thing that Amarion Smyre wanted was a sewing machine.

Not having one was one of the few obstacles to reaching his goals in fashion design.

A seventh-grader at North Rowan Middle School, Amarion is used to overcoming obstacles. He has Type 1 diabetes — a disease that was diagnosed at age 2. It causes his blood sugar to drop unpredictably during the day at times, and he has to inject insulin several times a day. His parents both have diabetes as well, so they have encouraged Amarion to try his best to achieve in school as well as in his artistic talent.

Amarion’s talent for sewing and design has been nurtured over the years by friends of the family and his grandmother, who taught him basic sewing. At Hanford Dole Elementary School in the second grade, he began learning simple stitches and drawing designs.

In the past two years at North Rowan Middle, his sewing and design skills have been enhanced with the help of a few teachers and staff members, including art teacher Leigh Ann Alexander, EC resource teachers Melissa Secreast and Tina Dixon, and financial secretary Sheryl Lowery.

But Amarion has been mostly self-taught.

One of his latest projects was designing and sewing the costumes for many cast members of “Aladdin, Jr.,” North Rowan Middle’s first musical production. Amarion created the costumes with the assistance of Leigh Ann Alexander, the director of the musical.

Many students have been involved in the production of “Aladdin Jr.” Set pieces, props and costumes were designed to reflect the jewel tones of the set and the Arabian feel of the music.

Amarion learned to design costumes for various cast members, ranging from ages 5 to 35.

“I have really enjoyed collaborating with Amarion, and I look forward to helping him prepare for his dream career in fashion design,” said Alexander, a music and art teacher. “‘Aladdin Jr.’s’ production has given him some real-world experience, especially for someone so young.”

“Even though you go through the hardest things, you can still accomplish your goals to get through it,” Amarion said.

“Aladdin Jr.” opens May 19 and will be presented in the North Rowan High School auditorium. On May 19 and 20, the musical starts at 7 p.m. On May 21, curtain time is 3 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors. Tickets can be bought at North Rowan Middle School’s front office.

Christy Brayton is the media center coordinator at North Rowan Middle School.