Prom dresses for less

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Democrat Photo/Lindsay Reed Shopping for a formal event Last week, Cassville High School students had the opportunity to select low-cost dresses through Sigma Epsilon's annual Project Prom Dress program. Pictured above, from left, are: Michelle Bright, Sigma Epsilon member; Anna Buckley, CHS senior; and Susan Richardson, Sigma Epsilon member.

Last week, around a dozen Cassville High School girls had the opportunity to shop for inexpensive formal dresses for prom through Sigma Epsilon's Project Prom Dress.

"This program is important because it helps the girl's self-esteem," said Michelle Bright, Sigma Epsilon member. "They have the opportunity to get dressed up for an event and not worry about their budget. They get to feel special.

"For some of these girls, this will be the only opportunity they get to attend an event like this in formal attire," added Bright.

Project Prom Dress, which provides an assortment of new and gently used prom and formal dresses, at a fraction of the cost offered at retail stores, began eight years ago. The program serves around a dozen students each year.

"The dresses are donated or purchased by sorority members throughout the year," said Jennifer Hanson, Sigma Epsilon member.

Dresses are also donated by members of the community. The majority of the dresses offered through the program are new, said Bright.

"The counselors assist us in finding the students who have a need," said Bright. "We send hand addressed invitations to the selected students."

Traditionally, students are given one day to shop for dresses through the program. This year, Project Prom Dress was extended to two days after several students missed school due to inclement weather last Tuesday.

"We start at the end of the school day," said Bright. "The girls just come in any time during the event and shop."

Project Prom Dress offers short dresses for $10 each and long dresses for $20 each. Students who purchase dresses through the program receive free shoes and accessories. Girls who purchase their dresses outside the program are also invited to shop for free shoes and accessories through Project Prom Dress.

"A lot of times, the girls purchase a dress for graduation day as well," said Bright. "Some of the girls also shop for a dress for the formal dance that is held at Scott Regional Technology Center."

In addition to offering the Project Prom Dress program, Sigma Epsilon members select one female senior student each year for a sponsorship program. Through the program, the selected student receives a free yearbook, graduation invitations and other items throughout their senior year.

"We look for opportunities to assist female students at the school," said Bright. "The group meets once a month to discuss what we can do to help."

Sigma Epsilon accepts dresses, shoes and other prom night accessories throughout the school year. Items can be dropped off at the Cassville High School office. The group also accepts monetary donations, which can also be delivered to the high school office.

For more information, call Bright at 847-3137 or email her at mbright@cassville.k12.mo.us.

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