The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Heidi Zemach
For The LOG 

Prom dress price relief offered


Heidi Zemach | For The LOG

Drama Debate and Forensics Coach Agusta Lind and student Malia Acovak look over the donated prom dresses during last week's fashion show and silent auction.

The price of prom, if you're a female in high school, just got a little cheaper. The Seward High School Drama, Debate and Forensics team piloted a new fundraising tool for the team last week that would enable fellow students to purchase stylish prom gowns for less. The team held a fashion show and silent auction in the cafeteria after school Tuesday afternoon, and even modeled some of the 21 dresses that were donated, strutting down a makeshift runway lined with lights. Many of the dresses were in mint condition, and several still had their price tags on them. One of the most expensive donated prom dresses originally cost more than $100, said team coach Agusta Lind. The team set the lowest minimum bid at $3, with a maximum minimum bid of $25. The gowns that had not been taken were going to be displayed on a rack in the cafeteria the following day, in case those who were not able to attend were interested.

"It brought some awareness to the debate team," said Kara Knotek, who helped organize the event and was one of the models. "And it's something fun for us to do to get some of our old dresses out of the closet and get them somewhat cheaper for anyone that wants them." They borrowed the idea from another school where a similar event was successful.

Most young women living in Seward either purchase their prom or winter formal dresses online, without having the chance to try them on until they arrive by mail, or they drive to Anchorage or Soldotna, more than two hours away where there are clothing stores that sell prom dresses. Prom dresses typically can cost between $75 and $100 and more. Then there's also the cost of shoes, nails, hair, makeup, boutonniere, the cost to attend and frequently other things such as dinner out, hotel rooms or limo.

The parents of teenage young women in the Western Region, including Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii and Alaska typically spend $1,079 for their high school prom, according to an April 2013 ABC News report by Alexa Valiente. In other regions, such as the Midwest, the cost of prom averages $722.

Scheduling the silent auction and fashion show for a date and time when Seward High School's overly busy students could make it after school was difficult, so the turnout was lower than they had hoped. But the idea's a good one that Knotek hopes will be continued in the years ahead.

"I know I spend quite a bit of money on my prom dresses, and in my freshman year I would have loved to have been able to buy a prom dress for $25," she said. "It's hard to get the dress you really want if it costs $200."


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