The story behind ‘The Interview Closet’ at Tuscaloosa County High School

Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 12:04 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s been said that first impressions make a difference, especially during a job interview. That’s where a Tuscaloosa County High School teacher comes into play. Laura Boothe-Peffer came up with ‘The Interview Closet’ in her own classroom.

Boothe-Peffer teared up a bit when describing a situation that she witnessed three years ago. She had a student who was going in for a job interview when he told her, “I don’t have any nice clothes.”

That sentence tugged at Boothe-Peffer’s heartstrings, so she went to the store. She bought him a pair of paints and a few button downs, but deep inside she felt this was likely more prevalent than she realized, and she was right.

“It broke my heart because you never know what our students carry around,” said Boothe-Peffer. “The majority of them carry around things that we are totally unaware of, that we couldn’t even fathom. But, at the same time I felt really good that he felt comfortable enough to say, ‘Hey, I really need this because you talked about what we should wear and what’s appropriate and I don’t have that, can you get it for me.”

Three years later, people in the Tuscaloosa community have donated shirts, dress pants, and shoes. Laura Boothe-Peffer says since that time three years ago, about a hundred students have taken advantage of ‘The Interview Closet’ and have worn the appropriate clothes for their interviews.

“It’s a really, really good idea when implemented directly. It benefits a ton of people here at TCHS, people who don’t have clothes for this or that,” said Tuscaloosa County High School sophomore Adam Brothers.

Laura Boothe-Peffer says this concept has become so popular that Sipsey Valley High School now has an interview closet. The teacher’s dream is for all county high schools to have something similar.

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