Dress to impress: Prom dress project allows girls to receive a donated dress

Elsa Cavazos, Valley Morning Star, Harlingen, Texas
·3 min read

May 2—LA FERIA — After a year without a prom, students from La Feria High School will get to dance the night away and those in need of a dress will have to look no further.

The prom dress project was initiated last year before the pandemic and continues to be an option for students in need of a dress to wear. Ida Prado, Family and Community Engagement Coordinator, said this is a separate project from Lexie's Closet which offers clothing to students. The district asked people in the community to donate gowns and dresses for girls to wear for prom or special school events.

"In this area we had been hit with that flood and we knew there were a lot of economic hardships and financially there was instability," Prado said.

"Around this time of the year everything is so expensive for seniors and we wanted to lighten the burden of having to do another major purchase," she said.

More than a 100 dresses have been donated to the project from cities all around Cameron County.

Superintendent Dr. Cathy Lee Hernandez said the reason to have a prom this year is because the district wanted students to finally have that senior experience.

"We are going to do it in a very safe way and we understand how prom has an impact in our lives and we wanted to make sure they experience it and not have the dress be a barrier," Hernandez said.

"We want our girls to attend regardless of the financial situation they have," she said.

On Friday at least 10 girls visited the high school to get a dress to wear on Saturday, May 1.

Hernandez said this would be a project the district plans on keeping for the future.

"We know once we go back to normal, we are going to have more donations. This is not something that is going to stop," she said.

"I am very proud of these types of experiences and our community answering the call, we could not do it without the people who donated," Hernandez said.

Marci Castillo-Muniz is a teacher at La Feria High School and she said she has donated 25 to 30 dresses. Castillo-Muniz has three daughters and throughout the years they collected dresses from different events.

"When I was young I loved going to prom and I could not always afford a dress and we would buy a dress from Dillard's and we would have a seamstress make it exactly the same and then return it," Castillo-Muniz.

"I was fortunate my mom could do that and I am fortunate I can do this for my girls," she said.

Two of her daughters are now attending college and one is a senior studying in Harlingen. She told them how many parents had lost their jobs because of the pandemic and students struggled to find what to wear in the last minute. Her youngest helped her to bring over dresses to donate.

"I feel like every girl should have a chance to attend prom, especially if they are seniors," she said.

"I think this is awesome, they are able to get a dress and I wish I could have dresses to give every year. It is important for high school girls to be able to go to an actual school dance, it is a lifetime memory to have," Castillo-Muniz said.