Students across School District 23 set to graduate later this year were welcomed to the fifth annual Proud for Prom event Saturday, where students pick out their prom outfit from a wide selection of clothing donated by the community.
“They come in and they shop, but there is no exchange of money. Students are able to keep all of the items that they are provided with today, and Artona is providing photography so they get a grad package," said Julie Loveridge-Marks.
"We have Clinque providing all the makeup and MC College doing hair, so they’re looking fantastic by the end of their day here, and they get a memory.”
Being a high school teacher at Rutland Senior Secondary, the founder of Proud for Prom understands graduation and prom is a once in a lifetime thing and a milestone moment for lots of young students.
“There’s a number of kids who just wouldn’t attend prom at all if they didn’t have the assistance from our organization, and it’s just so heartwarming to see the relief in the parents' eyes when they see that their child, their graduate, is going to be able to attend prom and feel good in what they’re wearing.”
Speaking with Castanet about how incredible the event was to see in person, a single mother says she's grateful for the generosity of the community, and how much it helped her find a suit for her son to wear to graduation.
"With the inflation of food and trying to live off a single income, it is quite hard to get ahead, right?" said Tammy Delaney.
"And the school has been really good, they do help with lots of other stuff. And then this was just amazing not having to worry about buying a suit or a tux for him. I didn’t even know that option was available, so it’s great."
While many students walked in not knowing what to expect, it was quite clear everyone walked out with a smile on their face.
“It’s honestly amazing because I’ve gone through lots of struggles with not being able to afford lots of stuff all the time, and then this definitely has increased my confidence in going to prom," said a student from RSS.