Among the many shelves of books in the Western Wayne High School Library hung a variety of beautiful gowns available for students to choose for their upcoming Prom in May. Students had the opportunity get a dress free of charge throughout the school day on Wednesday, March 27.

Western Wayne School Board President Mrs. Bernice Fiorella had the idea to get the community involved in such a project because she saw a need for the young ladies in the district to have some assistance in acquiring an item that could set them back hundreds of dollars which they may not have.

“Someone approached me about there being a need for dresses and once I saw that need I wanted to fill it,” Fiorella explained.

She later took to social media and other forms of networking in the community to acquire the gowns. She received about 100 dresses from family in New York and another woman from New Jersey reached out and donated about 200 dresses. Many other people in the Western Wayne community have also donated to this worthy cause along with Sunshine Cleaners in Hamlin who professionally cleaned all of the donated gowns free of charge.

Fiorella first did a project like this in the fall of this school year for the semi-formal and after its success she decided to continue to work with everyone involved to provide dresses to any girls who need one for this year’s Prom.

“It always amazes me how giving our community is,” Fiorella said. “They exceed my expectations every time.”

The girls at Western Wayne High School felt so grateful for the community’s efforts and absolutely loved having the chance to choose a Prom dress of their dreams.

Senior Vaeda Pontosky, who will attend DeSales University next year in the Physician Assistant Program, took advantage of the chance to look for Prom dresses at school.

“This is such a great opportunity,” Vaeda said. “I’m trying my best to save money for college right now, and I am so grateful for everyone who made this possible for us today.”

Vaeda’s classmate, junior Bella Zeiler also felt extremely grateful for the community’s efforts.

“Along with helping me to save money, it is really convenient for me to have some time during the day to look for a dress, because I have to work after school to save money for things like college and a car,” Bella explained.

Fiorella is thrilled the event was such a success and hopes to continue efforts of this nature in the Western Wayne community in the future.

In the meantime, Fiorella is giving the dresses that remain after the Western Wayne event to East Stroudsburg School District so their students can also benefit from this wonderful opportunity to have a dress free of charge for Prom. East Stroudsburg had reached out to Fiorella after hearing about the success of Western Wayne’s event in the fall to get students semi-formal dresses.

“I look forward to continuing efforts like these to help students through working with the Western Wayne School community and beyond in the future,” Fiorella said.