Pre-law group helps Whitney High students dress for prom

By Bre Nichols

Baylor students are working together to make sure the juniors and seniors of Whitney High School will have a spring prom they will never forget.

Members of the Phi Alpha Delta pre-law society will be collecting formal attire for the students at Whitney High School for the next two months.

Needed attire includes formal and semi-formal dresses, shirts, suits, shoes and accessories. Camden, Ark., junior Aundrea Payne, president of Phi Alpha Delta, said more than 20 members are involved in collecting clothes, and the group is working on getting other campus organizations to participate.

Payne had been looking for service opportunities outside of the usual areas in Waco when she came across this project.

“Everybody is at the YMCA and Family Youth Center, and we wanted to be different,” Payne said. “We’re a prestigious school, and we should expand our services so somebody else can be blessed.”

Recently, Payne received an email from Heather Neason, a teacher and sponsor of the junior class at Whitney High School.

Neason was asking for donations of formal attire, shoes and accessories for girls and boys. In a follow-up phone conversation, Neason explained to Payne that because the student population is about 60 percent socio-economically disadvantaged, many of them can’t afford the clothes, so they just don’t go to prom.

There are 180 students in the junior and senior classes, and Neason expects to provide enough clothes for 50 to 60 girls and boys. “The more we can provide for, the better,” Neason said.

In order to make the prom a night to remember for the students, Neason came up with the idea to collect the donations of clothing and accessories, which she said will then be available for students to purchase at reasonable prices.

Beginning in February, one of the classrooms at the high school will be turned into an after-school boutique.

“The students can browse through the selections and shop for their formal attire at affordable prices,” Neason said. The junior class will then use the money collected from sales to fund the dance.

After discussing the process of collecting clothes and setting up the boutique with Neason, Payne said she and other members of the Phi Alpha Delta organization understood how blessed they are to be at Baylor.

“We complain about not having the iPhone 4, and then we find out students last year couldn’t go to prom because they couldn’t afford the clothing or to go get their hair done, and we know how important prom was to us our senior year.”

Payne and other members of the Phi Alpha Delta organization decided they wanted to take their services a step further.

They have volunteered to do hair and make-up for students who purchase clothing from the boutique, and the school’s principal has offered to make a place in the school available for students to get ready on the day of prom.

Donations are being accepted from now until April 1. Neason asks that the clothes be clean and in good shape. “At this point, any type of donation is a blessing, and we will take them as they come,” Payne said. “Just remember: How would you feel if you were receiving these?” he said.

Neason has offered to meet donors in Waco to pick up contributions, and Phi Alpha Delta members will also be collecting the clothes at 6 p.m. every Monday in 337 Scott Draper Building.

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