EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – Prom — a magical night that usually caps off senior year — is just around the corner but for parents, the dance can put a big strain on their wallets. East Palestine High School is hoping to change that.
The school doesn’t want money to get in the way of a student enjoying the glitz and glamour of prom.
“It’s something that you’re never going to forget. It’s one of those highlights of high school,” said Kendra Hoover, a senior.
Inside the high school sits EPPY’s Attic — a room full of prom gowns and suits, all free to students.
“Prom is very expensive but now it’s great that we give every kid a chance to experience it,” said senior Faith Anderson.
English teacher Emily Randolph said the community has contributed generously to the Attic’s stash and this is only the first year the school’s done it.
“We felt like we needed to find a way to make all of our opportunities available to all of our students and EPPY’s Attic grew from there. The community has been wonderful, they’ve added so much.”
Donations from community members allowed EPPY to have over 300 dresses and several key pieces of menswear to share with students.
“We’re very thankful for that but we also had a dress shop in Salem called Dress to Impress that also helped us out a lot with collecting dresses,” Hoover said.
For girls, the average prom dress can cost anywhere from $100 to upwards of $1,000. Guys can rent a suit for about $100 to $200.
When it’s all said and done, the family of an average prom-goer will spend $1,169 on the big dance, according to a 2015 Visa survey.
That’s why EPPY’s Attic is also opening its doors to neighboring school districts.
“We’re reaching out to all the schools in the local area and they just have to contact our guidance office,” said senior Hayley McElroy.
As for the prom shopping experience, it’ll give you that, too.
“We decided to paint the walls, go for a design, a theme, if you will, because we wanted that experience of going shopping and feeling special,” said EPPY’s Attic volunteer Abbi Miller,.
Organizers are hoping to keep the program going for a long time.
“The goal is that we will eventually be able to offer interview clothing and the next step for all of our students so we can continue to see it grow and see where it can go next,” Randolph said.
Students get to keep any dresses or suits they find at EPPY’s Attic.
To make an appointment to go shopping at EPPY’s Attic, call the high school’s guidance office at 330-426-5440.
To donate items, drop them off at East Palestine High School until 3 p.m. or the Board of Education offices located at 200 W. North Avenue until 4 p.m.