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Say Yes to the Dress: Prom Edition Helps Fulfill Dreams

By Janis Kruger
Hottytoddy.com intern

Most little girls begin dreaming of their high school prom from the time they start to play dress up with their mother’s high heels and jewelry. The idea of sparkly dresses, corsages, and the title of “Prom Queen” can linger in a girl’s mind for years. The thing that is often forgotten? The price tag.

The reality of the prom price tag can be overwhelming—the dress, the hair, the makeup, the manicure, the shoes, the jewelry, the ticket; this monumental event can end up costing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Thankfully, Oxford High School makes a way for every girl to attend her high school prom; each girl can look like Cinderella without having to wear a glass slipper to get there.

Say Yes to the Dress: Prom Edition is an annual event held at Oxford High School where girls can find the dress of their dreams. The best part? Their night to shine is free of charge. This year, the event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the OHS gym.

Girls come from all over the surrounding areas to have their own magical dress shopping experience.

Racks and racks of dresses in sizes ranging from 0-22 are available, and each girl has the chance to have a special moment as she stands on a pedestal and says “yes” to her perfect dress.

Each dress is then rented and wrapped in a bag to take home, but no one ever has to stand at a cash register and hand over a credit card. Every single dress, pair of shoes and piece of jewelry is donated by local businesses, families and organizations. In fact, the program hasn’t had to pay for garment racks, storage or cleaning for the dresses.

“Last year we had a girl come, and she loved the dress, but couldn’t get into it. So a seamstress added material, and we got her into it,” Hickey said, her voice cracking with emotion. “She looked so good.”

No girl will ever be turned away before finding her perfect fit.

The program started four years ago when Rose Hickey, the head coordinator of the event and Oxford High School employee, had several girls sitting in her office who were discussing their dilemma about what to do with their past prom dresses.

Hickey remembered other conversations she had with girls who were facing the opposite issue; they would not be attending prom because the extravagant price tag was just not within their budget.

A light bulb went off in Hickey’s head, and she knew how all of those once-worn prom dresses could find a second life. When she shared her idea with the students in her office, the girls were completely on board to give their dresses to other girls who needed one.

“From that day on, we just hit the pavement, and dresses just started coming in,” Hickey said.

In four years, the program discussed in her office has grown much larger than Hickey ever could have anticipated. Say Yes to the Dress: Prom Edition now has more than 400 dresses. Last year, the event helped 76 girls attend their prom and Hickey said they hope to serve 176 girls this year.

Donations for the cause will be accepted through Friday.

For more information, email Hickey at rhickey@oxfordsd.org.

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