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Used prom dress sale benefits girls, cancer research

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
March 18, 2012
— As their mothers sat and stood outside the dressing rooms, Emily Jeters and Leslie Wright tried on prom dresses.

The Delavan-Darien High School students were accomplishing two things.


They had the chance to buy gently used and professionally cleaned gowns at a fraction of retail prices. In addition, what they paid for them was to be donated to the Lake Geneva Hope Walk in September and Susan G. Komen for the Cure in June in Madison to aid cancer research.


Erika Price, a 17-year-old Delavan-Darien High School senior, and her mother, Cori Price, a breast cancer survivor, organized the second annual sale.


The 65 dresses they collected, in sizes 0 to 25, were professionally cleaned, courtesy of Dutch Maid Cleaners, and neatly displayed on five racks in the brightly lit commons area of the school. Prices ranged from $10 to $75. The average sale price was $25.


Betty Rambatt of Sharon and another woman browsed through the short, tea-length and full-length gowns, some with beads or sequined accents, others made of satin.


She came to see if there were any dresses that might fit her daughter Brittany, a junior at Big Foot High School, who couldn’t make the sale due to an FFA commitment.


“She likes the greens,” Rambatt said of her daughter’s color preference.


Due to the reasonable prices, Rambatt also was considering a dress for herself for an upcoming wedding.


“This one is from David’s Bridal for $30 and sold for $369 online,’’ she said, carefully examining the long, elegant gown.


Emily Jeters, 18, knew exactly what she was looking for: “A short, puffier dress.’’


And she found it—a midnight blue, strapless dress with a beaded bodice and tulle/crinoline skirt that only cost $25 and matched her silver shoes she bought for prom last year.


“It’s very reasonably priced and saves us a lot of money,” said her mother, Sue Jeters.


Leslie Wright, a 16-year-old Delavan-Darien High School junior, was looking specifically for a long, more princess-like gown that wouldn’t cost her $150 to $300.


After trying on three dresses, she was favoring the flattering, body-hugging, elegant gown that was purple—her favorite color—for $35.


“That’s a deal and it helps a cause,” said her mother, Judy Wright of Sharon.


Although Erika said she didn’t have a goal set for how much money she’d like to raise, Cori said it would be nice to raise $500, which was possible because they spread word of the sale through word of mouth, at area high schools, over the Internet, newspapers and radio stations.


“We’re just going to donate whatever we make,” Cori said, “and will probably split it between the two causes.”


The mother/daughter duo collected 150 dresses, sold 10 and raised $2,100 through sales and donations last year. Although a blizzard was blamed for keeping other potential buyers away, Cori said they still were happy with the event results.


Erika said she decided to organize the sale again this year “just to help girls in my community and still raise money for breast cancer research.”


“There are some girls who can’t afford top-shelf prices” for prom dresses, said Cori, who plans to make the prom sale an annual tradition after Erika graduates this year.


“I think I’ll grab a junior girl or two in high school to help me keep this going,” she said. “The longer it runs, the more well known it will become to more girls as an option to come here.’’



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