Bald Eagle

BEA’s unique boutique gives dresses second chance to make first impression

Meghan Shiels, left, and Maddie Cingle look through used prom dresses in preparation for a sale at Bald Eagle High School on Monday. The sale will take place this Saturday, and is open to everyone.
Meghan Shiels, left, and Maddie Cingle look through used prom dresses in preparation for a sale at Bald Eagle High School on Monday. The sale will take place this Saturday, and is open to everyone. Centre Daily Times

Room 11 at Bald Eagle Area High School was filled with prom dresses, as social studies teacher Diane Lucas was mingling with a group of students Monday afternoon.

Pink, green and black and white dresses were hanging against the wall near her desk. Others were in a cabinet on the other side of the room. And even more dresses were in boxes in a storage room down the hall.

Seniors Maddie Cingle, 18, Meghan Shiels, 17, and Kate Snyder, 17, even took time out of their day to arrange the dresses by size and style.

The dresses were donated by students and community members for the third annual Prom Dress and Semiformal Dress sale, organized by BEA’s student government and junior class.

“We’ve seen similar events at other schools like Central Mountain, and the kids asked to have one here,” said Lucas, who acts as student government and prom adviser.

Through social media headed by Spanish teacher Andrea Simpson and word-of-mouth advertising, BEA was able to create the event and bring in gowns for students, Lucas said.

“It got a huge response,” she said.

So far, about 250 dresses have been donated this year.

“It’s grown so much,” Lucas said. “More than anything we’re seeing more girls come in and donate, and come in and buy dresses.”

This year’s sale will be held Saturday afternoon — four months before the sale has been held in the past, Shiels said.

“It used to be held in May, but it didn’t give kids much time to buy their dress, then coordinate with their date or something,” Shiels said. “This gives students more opportunity.”

People are encouraged to donate dresses until 11 a.m. Saturday. In return, students who donate will be given a coupon for a free exchange.

Snyder said she has donated three dresses so far, and is contemplating donating two more. She began accumulating dresses after attending the prom and the annual Bald Eagle Snowball Dance.

“It’s a fun way to be a big part of giving back and representing the school,” Snyder said. “It’s a great way for kids to get awesomely beautiful dresses at a good price and give back in the long run.”

Money raised through the sale will go to a fund used to purchase odd-size dresses, formal attire for boys, shoes and accessories for students in need.

“We don’t make a profit,” Shiels said. “We put all that money back into providing other necessities for other students.”

Dresses will sell for $5 to $20, Lucas said, and dresses donated after the sale will go toward next year’s sale, Lucas said.

The organization process was in full force starting last week as some students stayed after school to put dresses in boxes and began rearranging them by style.

“We have short dresses like this that are more for a dance like the Snowball Dance,” Shiels said as she held up a black and white dress to her body that came to about her knees.

The Snowball Dance is held every February as a fancy but less formal event than prom. The longer, ball gown-style dress is more appropriate for prom, Snyder said.

“So many of these dresses stay in closets for so long, but we’re happy to provide a place those dresses can be reused for girls who want to wear them,” Snyder said. “There’s a style for everyone.”

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