Seattle Public Schools

Can’t Hide Her Chief Sealth Pride  

Summary: Sarah Martin has worn the school’s colors every day for the past 11 years.

Pantone 292 and 199. Those are the color swatches for Chief Sealth International’s school colors – Columbia blue and red, respectively. For Sarah Martin, these colors have defined her wardrobe. She’s been wearing them every day for the past 11 years. 

Chief Sealth teacher Sarah Martin smiling at the camera in front of her closet.

What started out as a joke between colleagues has had Martin dressing in the school’s colors since 2013. She and two of her colleagues wanted to commemorate making it through their first three years of teaching, so they dared each other to wear only Chief Sealth gear from the start of the school year until winter break.  

Martin completed the task; the others did not. 

For several months, Martin continued to show up to work wearing Chief Sealth spirit gear. In her fifth year at the school, she added activities coordinator to her duties and began to accumulate a ridiculous number of school-themed shirts.  

“You get hit up to buy stuff a lot, and so it’s, “Ooh yeah, I’ll buy a sweatshirt to support the football team, and a polo to support the band, and buy a scarf to support the cheer squad,” Martin said. “So, you end up with all this stuff.” 

Eventually, she shifted from spirit gear to wearing the school colors. Martin said the switch makes it easier to pick an outfit each morning. 

“Some people say it must be hard to wear the same colors. I actually love it,” she said.  

Chief Sealth Teacher Sarah Martin's school IDs

Martin loves thrift shops, and for her, there is no better find than coming across an item in Chief Sealth colors. A vintage cardigan here. A red beret there. With her eye trained on finding the school colors, shopping is that much easier. 

“I don’t have to look at everything. I just scan the rack. Is it red or Columbia blue? If it’s not, I don’t need it.” 

To avoid wearing the same outfit too many times, Martin uses an organization trick where she turns all her hangers backwards after wearing the item. Her favorite outfit is a collared shirt that she found in the boys’ section at a department store. It’s covered in roller skates in her signature colors. 

“I get compliments every time I wear that one. It’s so random,” she said. “It’s super cozy, and I take such good care of it.” 

Her most expensive? A $180 cheerleader sweatshirt. Martin’s mistake was not asking how much the sweater cost before agreeing to the purchase. 

“I had just become the activities coordinator, and I was trying to be super supportive,” she said. “I did not have the heart to say, ‘holy crap, that is too much money for sweatshirts!’” 

Chief Sealth teacher Sarah Martin smiling at the camera in her classroom

Martin choice to wear school colors daily has made her a part of the Chief Sealth lore. She said it takes a while before students catch on to her dress code. It’s only when she’s not wearing the school colors that a student may notice.  

“Several years ago, I and four other teachers dressed up like [the cast of] “The Breakfast Club,” so I was not wearing Chief Sealth colors,” she said. “A kid will notice and be like, ‘What’s wrong Ms. Martin? Are you OK?’” 

Martin is fully aware that school spirit looks different on everyone and admits her trend may feel obnoxious to some. But it’s her love for Chief Sealth is what keeps it going.  

“Some people are like, ‘you’re crazy,’ but I think it’s an easy way to show that I like being here; that I’m a part of this community; that I like being here, and I like being here every day. This is where I’m supposed to be, and so I’m going to dress the part.” 

Most School Spirited Teacher 

Is there a teacher in your school community who is the most school spirited? Tell us about them! They could be featured in a special SPS Shout Out in May!