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Lamphere preps for annual Spring Dress Extravaganza

For many students, prom is a special night, but for parents, it can be a bit pricey. Now for the second year in a row, Lamphere High’s Spring Dress Extravaganza aims to ease the burden with a variety of good deals. And students from other schools are invited as well.

The April 16 event, to be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lamphere High, 610 W. 13 Mile Road in Madison Heights, costs $5 to get in and will provide access to a wide selection of formal dresses costing $20 or less. The dresses are good for prom, homecoming — even the eighth-grade dance. There will also be shoes and jewelry, men’s ties, and services including nails and tanning.

Organizers are still collecting donated dresses, shoes and accessories, as well as other items that could make for prizes: limo rides, dinners for two, pedicures and manicures, hairstyles and makeovers, photographers on prom day, tickets to prom, and more.

Once the sale is over, the remaining items will be taken to a shelter for runaway or displaced girls and allow them to choose their own dresses, shoes and accessories. After last year’s sale, organizers took the remaining donations to Vista Marie Home for Girls in Dearborn.

The event is organized by PACT — Power to Achieve and Conquer Together. PACT is a club at Lamphere with about 50-60 students from all four grades. Students encourage one another to achieve academically and otherwise, according to Jackie Gilmore, a teacher at Lamphere and one of the club sponsors. They also reach out to others in need and help them achieve as well.

Twice every year, the PACT students go on a team-building retreat. They have speakers, activities, lessons and training. Last year, the students went rock climbing at a new business in Madison Heights. They also continue to put together a canned food drive each fall, taking the goods to a homeless shelter or Gleaners Community Food Bank, where they’ll also volunteer. PACT also presents the annual Black History Month assembly at Lamphere.

There will be at least a dozen PACT students working at the Spring Dress Extravaganza, which will raise money for club activities. Gilmore said in an email that last year’s event was a big success, with people standing in line before it even opened.

“We began this effort because last year, we had a set of 12th-grade triplets who were girls, and it dawned on me that if it’s tough for parents to afford long formal dresses for one student, imagine how hard it would be to have to buy three prom dresses, shoes, accessories, hairdos, nails and such,” Gilmore said. “For most, prom is a once-in-a-lifetime event. To miss it because of a lack of a dress or because you cannot afford it would be a shame. I want as many girls as possible to save as much money as they can on prom!”

Gilmore said this year will feature a wider selection of dresses, as well. The event will be held in the high school cafeteria.

Fellow teacher and PACT co-sponsor Amy Guzynski said in an email that the event aligns with one of PACT’s core values: helping others.

“Prom, especially now and especially for girls, represents a significant cost,” Guzynski said. “Many parents and students ‘stock up’ and buy their prom and homecoming dresses for the next couple of years.”

She noted that they’re still collecting donations of gently used prom or homecoming-style dresses, shoes, accessories and men’s ties, but there are other ways people can help too.

“You can help make this event successful by spreading the word. Please post the information on social media, and tell all your friends,” Guzynski said. “Also, please consider donating food, beverages or your time to the event.”

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