Neighboring school donates 110 formal dresses to Belding High School

By Emilee Nielsen • Last Updated 9:58 pm on Friday, May 12, 2017

Summer Eubank, 17, Aurora Perez, 18, Cassidy Zuver, 18, and Cali Huddleston, 18, check out the selection of special occasion dresses donated from Forest Hills Eastern High School to Belding High School. The schools partnered to bring more than 100 special occasion dresses to Belding for students to choose from for free for tonight’s prom and upcoming school awards events. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

BELDING — Prom season has arrived, which means fancy clothes, dinners out, hair appointments, nail appointments and hours and hours of primping.

All of this can add up quickly and the cost of going to prom is just too high for some.

To help alleviate the burden of cost, Belding Area Schools Superintendent Brent Noskey reached out to Forest Hills Eastern High School Principal Steve Harvey to ask if they would be interested in running a dress drive.

“A lot of their families are very blessed financially (and have the means to purchase things associated with prom),” Noskey said. “It was a good opportunity (for girls) to donate their dresses and help someone out.”

Physical education teacher Jacquie Brown and special education teacher Allison Teitsema are advisers to student government and worked together with members of the student government to organize the drive.

Summer Eubank, 17, and Aurora Perez, 18, try out prom dresses donated from Forest Hills Eastern High School to Belding High School. More than 100 dresses were donated and are available for students for free for tonight’s prom and other upcoming special occasions.

“We held the dress drive for one week and collected 110 dresses,”Teitsema said. “This was the first year we have done this but we are open to running one again in the future.”

Noskey said at an average of more than $100 per dress, the donations exceed $10,000 in total value.

“I’ve met with some of our girls and they were telling me they didn’t think they could afford prom because of the dress and it’s $40 per ticket so if this can help a few more be able to go to prom, that’s really neat for them,” he said.

Summer Eubank, 17, is a member of Belding’s student council. She and Cassidy Zuver, 18, also a member of student council, went with Noskey to pick up the dresses.

Eubank said they got the chance to tour Forest Hills Eastern High School during their visit and she thought that was a cool opportunity.

Cali Huddleston, 18, chose a short, blue dress from the donations. She said she won’t wear it to prom tonight, but will likely wear it to class night, an upcoming night to honor students for their hard work in their academic careers.

“I’m not exactly the richest person,” Huddleston said. “(But) if I was going to prom, that’s a great opportunity to have a dress to choose from that isn’t going to break your wallet. I think it’s really good for the people in financial circumstances to where they can’t get those extra things.”

Aurora Perez, 18, was surprised by how pretty the dresses were and the large selection.

“I was able to get a prom dress for free without having to borrow from my grandparents’ or someone else,” she said.

Huddleston said having the dresses at the school is a positive because some people might not have the time to go to the mall and spend the day trying on dresses. Having the dresses on site is convenient.

Zuver said having the donated dresses as an option can really take the pressure off for people who are worried about money but still want to participate in the dance or other school-associated special occasions.

Noskey said he’d like to work out an annual drive for dresses within their own school as well as continue to partner with other schools to bring dresses not only to Belding but to other local schools with students who may benefit.

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