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All dressed up with somewhere to go

Students share donated dresses for Homecoming Dance

Photos by student photographer Esteban Clark-Braendle 

Byron Center With a desire to give back and bring smiles to others’ faces, Byron Center High School students made sure their peers would be well dressed for the Homecoming Dance.

Students in the Student Life and Leadership class provided girls with lots of dress options — for free —  by collecting donated dresses from around the community. They hosted the BC Boutique for  three days during lunch and after school in the Van Singel Fine Arts Center in preparation for the Oct. 2 dance.

“The goal was to get as many people to bring in dresses as we could,” said senior Abi Vanderwall, who is in the class that focuses on servant leadership, working to put the needs of others first. “We knew there were a lot of girls who probably wouldn’t be able to find a dress because of COVID and family situations.”

The dresses  fancy, sleek, and sparkly attracted savvy shoppers eager to find the perfect gown. The boutique was open to all students regardless of financial need, and exchanging their used dresses was part of the fun.  

Thrift shopping is very popular, the girls said. “We know a lot of girls really like thrifting. The fun thing is a lot of girls have gone a little retro in the past couple years,” Abi said. “Our goal was just to put something together we all like and that would be fun for the girls here.”

“They don’t necessarily want to spend $100, and they can also donate their dresses so they are not just sitting in their closet,” added senior Ellery Daymon, who is also in the class. “I thought it was cool how you can recycle dresses and exchange with people.”

From left, Byron Center High School seniors Ellery Daymon, Lindsay Mlejnek and Abi Vanderwall helped organize the BC Boutique
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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


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