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April 1, 2012

Wick’s hosts prom expo

Clothing, services donated for storm victims

NEW ALBANY — When tornadoes tore through Henryville and the surrounding communities, many homes and buildings, including Henryville High School, were destroyed.

With so much devastation, prom may have been the last thing on anyone’s mind, but as the community slowly picked up the pieces and students returned to school, many started thinking about that right of passage. Realizing many families have greater concerns than finding something to wear for prom, New Albany resident Nicole Mitchell teamed up with Wick’s Pizza Parlor and Pub and put together the One Stop Prom Expo to make things a little easier.

Students were able to choose from a selection of almost 2,500 dresses along with tuxes, shoes and accessories all for free. Vendors also offered free services such as photography, salon needs and alterations.

Henryville High School student Casey Guernsey took her time carefully selecting a prom dress.

“It’s really nice they are having this. Now I have one less thing to worry about,” Guernsey said. “But we wouldn’t be worried about prom, because the rest of us were worried about school and people’s lives. We would have been fine without a prom, but it’s awesome to still be having it.”  

The idea for the One Stop Prom Expo started small. Mitchell wanted to help storm victims, but was not sure how. While in class at Ivy Tech, she talked to Aliene Hamm of the Henryville High School PTO about what to do.

“Nicole asked if she could help, and it exploded from there,” Hamm said. “People have been so generous with everything from the Prom Expo, to finding somewhere for the kids to go to school. This prom dress thing has been amazing,” Hamm said.

The Prom Expo benefitted from the generosity of the community.

“I went on Facebook and started a group page, and Wick’s was willing to help me out with this Expo,” said Mitchell, about her first major fundraising event.

Several friends stepped in to help Mitchell who worked from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the week to get everything organized.

“We spent two weeks tagging dresses and cleaning shoes. All of the shoes are disinfected and they are as clean as possible,” said Jenna Evers, who was very pleased with the event.     

“It was a great turn-out, and having 2,500 dresses is a huge success,” said Evers, who added because there were so many dresses, the Prom Expo was open to all local high school students in need of a dress.

The dresses came from a variety of places, including New Orleans and New York CIty. The Glass Slipper of Nashville, Ind., donated more than 1,000 dresses. Some of the dresses were from sorority sisters challenging each other at Purdue and Indiana University. Other dresses were from friends and some donations were made at the Main Source Bank locations in Nashville.

“Most people wouldn’t have been able to pay for a dress. We are excited that we can participate in something like this,” said Lesa Arnold, who helped with the Glass Slipper, which is an annual event for Brown County High School students.

Henryvillle High School senior Kristi Powers lost her car during the storm and if it were not for the generosity of others, a dress may not have happened this year.

“This is the most generous thing I’ve seen. I can’t afford a dress right now, and a lot of people lost their home, so prom was the last thing on their mind,” said Powers, who will now have that senior prom memory with her date, Zach Bowman.

“Since everything that has happened, I’m glad they’re having this,” Bowman said.

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