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Helping students with cost of formal wear



Staff Writer


A new program at Lincolnton High School is looking to collect clothing and accessories — including formal dresses in advance of prom season — for students who are in need.

Called the “Clothes Closet,” the project is a year-round drive for all types of clothing, including women’s, men’s, juniors’ and children’s items, said Autumn Lemons, a teacher aide and the Communities in Schools Graduation Coach at Lincolnton High School.

The idea for the program came to be after Caroline Willard, an exceptional children teacher, and principal Tony Worley had a conversation last year about students’ needs at Lincolnton High School.

“There are students enrolled here, as in other schools, who are in need of clothes, as well as students who may face disasters — house fires, etc. — and present a need that they have not had before,” Lemons said.

Having officially opened this school year, the Clothes Closet got off the ground with assistance from senior student Zachary Fitzgerald, who helped provide clothing racks to hang and organize the donated items on. Lemons noted that he did this work in conjunction with a project for Eagle Scouts.

Willard also works with her Occupational Course of Study students to keep the program running.

“They collect and hang the clothes, as well as organize the closet for easy access,” Lemons added.

In order to maintain student confidentiality, Willard works with both the school’s Guidance Department and Communities in Schools to provide the clothing to recipients.

“The school counselors will determine which students are in need and will facilitate the need being met,” Lemons said. “Students are able to come in with a need and choose their preference of the clothing they take from the Clothes Closet.”

This spring, they are adding a special component to the program to incorporate prom dresses for those students who may not be able to afford their own. From the start of the spring semester last week up through April’s prom, they are requesting donations of prom, formal or bridesmaid dresses.

“But, the (prom-dress drive) will really be year-round because we will always need prom dresses in years to come,” Lemons stressed.

Fellow students, as well as faculty and staff, at Lincolnton High School are being reminded to donate through advertisements and daily announcements, and the public is invited to participate, too.

“As we grow, we would also like to reach out to neighboring schools and the community to help fulfill their needs,” Lemons added.

Community members who would like to donate items may do so by dropping them off at Lincolnton High School’s main office or with Willard or Lemons in rooms 105 and 223, respectively.

Gently used dresses and clothing are preferred.


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