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Building School Community with Custom Apparel

Schools can be for so much more than what happens in the classroom. While providing students with a solid education is the end goal of any K12 program, there are many invaluable skills beyond the core curriculum that schools can provide. After-school programs like clubs and sports offer social and physical enrichment and engage kids in ways that classes cannot. These activities bring students together through this shared interest, building a sense of camaraderie that classes sometimes lack.

A t-shirt hangs from a pile of Custom Ink boxes while students play lacrosse in the background.

It made for an extra special practice day when the t-shirts for the Falls Church Lacrosse team arrived.

James Cho is used to engaging students both inside and outside the school building. As a Math and Leadership teacher at Holmes Middle School and the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Coach at Falls Church High School, he works with many students across a wide range of ages. “I want to ensure that each student unlocks their potential and strives to become better each day. I also want to inspire each student to recognize that there is a bright future ahead of them and their part in it,” says James.

Through his work over the years, he’s come to realize the impact that these after-school programs have on his students. “Extracurricular activities and team sports are an essential part of the development for all students. Through problem solving and activities, students develop pillars and fundamental understandings of life. Collaborative opportunities seen in activities support the development of Community, Respect, and Pride. Community is established when peers support one another in various aspects. Respect and trust are gained as peers collaboratively triumph over obstacles. Through the previous two pillars, a sense of Pride is formed as a student individually grows their own passions and skill sets while they accomplish goals through the efforts in their respective activities,” James explained.

To build on community and pride, James ordered spirit wear for the lacrosse and field hockey teams from Custom Ink. While he already had the design in hand, he was faced with financial constraints. Fortunately, Custom Ink’s team was there to help. “FCHS is a lower-income school. Not all of our players have been able to have the funds to buy spirit wear every season. [Sales representative] Nicole [Welton] was able to help us find us the right apparel within our budget.” James ultimately chose the Hanes EcoSmart 50/50 T-shirt and the Hanes EcoSmart 50/50 Pullover Hoodie to bring the team community together. Having a short-sleeve and long-sleeve option meant that the team and fans would be prepared no matter the weather, and both feature fabric made from recycled materials.

Two people lying out the custom t-shirts on the grass.

There were multiple colors and styles for the shirts so that everyone could choose something that worked for them.

In addition to covering the team, James’ order included enough shirts for the athletes’ family members, school staff, and even community members. This way the greater FCHS populace could show off their pride and support to the teams—support that is such an important resource in a student’s development. With so many people interested in the shirts, James was able to set up his purchase with a Group Order Form so that anyone could set up their own address for shipping. James had the majority of the shirts sent to the school in order to personally share with the team, but staff and fans could opt in to have the shirts shipped directly to their home or office. With the pandemic still going on, this allowed people to choose whatever method worked best for them. This also gave individuals the option to select either a shirt or hoodie (or both), pick the color they wanted, and select their size. Rather than create more work for the person putting together the order, this made collecting these details a more manageable affair. Learn more about our multiple address shipping options.

The experience James had throughout his order was enough to make him a fan of Custom Ink. The help and support he received throughout the process cemented Custom Ink as his go-to for any custom gear that his lacrosse and field-hockey teams need in the future. “Custom Ink staff are amazing. Just ask for help, and they will be there to support you,” said James. “Custom Ink is more than just a print shop or embroidery business. Custom Ink is community. I am so grateful for the support and guidance from their staff to bring comfortable and affordable spirit wear to our student athletes, staff members, families and friends, and the greater Falls Church High School community.”


Kendra is the Copywriting Support at Custom Ink. She has a background in art but she loves writing, so she finds a compromise between the two by creating comics in her free time.

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