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The Minnesota Daily

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The Minnesota Daily

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Sorority outfits girls with prom threads

Kappa Alpha Theta is collecting prom attire for local girls from low-income families.

Two prom dresses hung amid a mismatched collection of empty plastic and metal hangers last week in the coatroom of Kappa Alpha Theta. Both dresses once danced the night away on the body of sorority service chairwoman Audra Ragan.

Come May, two girls in the Richfield school district will slip into these dresses and strut onto a dance floor crowded with classmates on prom night.

The sorority is collecting formal gowns, shoes and accessories until April 1 to donate to young women who might not be able to afford attending prom.

Ragan, a first-year theater student, is running the dress drive and said the sorority’s goal is to send 100 girls to the dance in style, which will mean collecting more than twice as many gowns as last year.

To reach this goal, Ragan is e-mailing sorority chapters, handing out fliers and advertising in residence halls.

The donations will be given to Ever After Gowns, a local nonprofit organization that provides resources and services to help young women attend prom.

Ever After Gowns President Maggie Harris said issues like fashion and finances can “weigh heavily on the mind of a young girl.”

“We try to ease them so girls can enjoy something as simple as a major adolescent milestone,” she said.

Guidance counselors choose girls to participate in the program based on categories such as financial need, academic effort and outside commitments.

Estee Stene, guidance department educational leader said the school chose students who were on free or reduced-price lunch.

Half of students in the Richfield school district are in one of these programs, so Stene and two other guidance counselors gave priority to seniors.

Last April, Richfield invited 50 girls to select a dress in the high school’s choir room, which was transformed into an upscale boutique, Harris said.

“They put a lot of work into it,” Stene said. “It was a class act.”

Dresses collected from the sorority drive and others donated from local boutiques hung on racks borrowed from Banana Republic, she said.

Private practice rooms for singing were morphed into private dressing rooms with full-length mirrors while music filled the air, Harris said.

Personal shoppers, including about 10 sorority members, helped the girls choose and try on dresses that fit their personal styles.

“They were really helpful,” high school senior Ieesha Taylor said. “It saved me a lot of money.”

Taylor chose a long champagne dress with spaghetti straps, a shawl and a silver bracelet.

High school senior Andria Vetsch took her mom to the event and found a navy blue strapless dress.

“It was just so much fun for all of us,” she said.

Freelance Editor Emily Kaiser welcomes comments at [email protected].

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