Attending prom is a rite of passage for all high schoolers, an unforgettable evening most never forget. Some students, however, never get to attend. The primary reason? Cost.
To help less-than-fortunate students, Samohi will be accepting formal attire donations for prom season. The school will be accepting gowns, formal dresses, formal wear, gently used shoes, purses, jewelry and formal attire accessories, providing these clothing options free of charge to students who can’t afford prom attire. Donations to the Samohi Prom Boutique began March 1 and will end April 26.
Lauren Paule Sheahan, O-House Principal at Santa Monica High School, is behind launching the inaugural Prom Boutique program. She ran a similar program at a former school she presided over in Arizona.
Upset by seeing students forego prom due to being unable to afford the event — a night that a recent Visa survey says can cost around $1,000 — Sheahan began the clothing drive program.
“It was received very positively,” Sheahan said. “Both by those who donated and those who benefited. People were excited to clean out their closets … they wanted to know their formal wear was going to serve someone who needed it. Benefactors were thrilled to have a variety of dresses and tux to make their evening special.”
So far, Samohi has received about 50 dresses and 50 tuxedos, a number Sheahan hopes to double by the end of the drive.
“We’ve had folks from the entertainment industry who have access to a lot of gowns and tuxes due to awards season stuff. They’ve been willing to donate to our students and we hope to get more from our impressive community.”
Parent volunteers are currently helping to sort the donations while Samohi currently works to secure sponsors to provide food and beverages during the Prom Boutique sale, May 9, 10 and 11.
In addition to helping students with clothing, Sheahan wants the program to help students in a social sense as well. The program will allow students to make an appointment to “shop”at the boutique, bringing along a person with them. The move is to make those less-fortunate feel more comfortable.
“I don’t want them to feel down or less than because they’re involving themselves in this program,” Sheahan said. “Bringing someone and ‘shopping’ makes it feel like they’re still having that experience of shopping for prom.”