Somehow, Blue Springs High School’s Camryn Habben finds enough time in a 24-hour day to serve as president of Scholar Bowl and vice president of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), travel the country with the highly acclaimed Blue Springs High School Golden Regiment – where she serves as a student leader in the wind symphony – and change the world, one piece of paper at a time.
The junior recently won first place in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America’s recycling-redesign STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) competitive event. STAR offers high school students a series of events in which members are recognized for proficiency and achievement in chapter and individual projects, leadership skills and career preparation.
She collected used faxes, old music notes from the band room and any other paper that was heading to a trash container to make a wedding dress – wowing the judges and members of the Blue Springs administration.
“That’s just amazing to me,” Blue Springs principal Tom Alderman said. “In this day and age, A: To have the foresight to put a plan together and B: Where we are in our society, with the need to recycle, repurpose and redesign, for Camryn to do something like that is just amazing. We’re proud of her at Blue Springs High School.”
Habben did not take part in the competition for personal recognition.
“I like to be active in my school and I’m really interested in all kinds of things – like recycling,” Habben said. “I was in the STAR competition last year with a dress I made from old pieces of Dry-Fit material, but it didn’t really have the impact my dress did this year.”
“I saw a story about a woman who made a dress from Starburst (candy) wrappers, and it gave me the idea to make a dress with recycled paper. Then, I got the idea to make it a wedding dress, and it all worked out pretty well.”
In the past, she has used a mannequin she borrowed from the high school for her STAR creations, but her parents recently purchased a mannequin so Habben could come up with a new design at the drop of a hat.
“I got all the used papers from the band room,” she said, “and some teachers heard about what I was doing and saved some paper they were going to throw out. I made a few rough sketches, then came up with the pattern on wrapping paper and went to work.”
The creation took a few weeks to complete and she won the Jan. 22 competition that took place at Woods Chapel United Methodist Church in Lee’s Summit.
“I was really happy to win, especially after I didn’t do so well last year, and I’m happy that I made more people think about recycling,” she said. “That to me is the most important thing to come out of all of this.”