Madi Candos, 17, of Oak Lawn, happily browses for a prom dress at Oak Lawn Community High School's Cinderella's Closet.  (Photos by Kelly White)

Madi Candos, 17, of Oak Lawn, happily browses for a prom dress at Oak Lawn Community High School's Cinderella's Closet. (Photos by Kelly White)

Dress for less at Oak Lawn High School’s Cinderella’s Closet 

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Abby McLaughlin, 17, of Oak Lawn, looks for the perfect prom dress at Oak Lawn Community High School’s Cinderella’s Closet.

By Kelly White 

Searching for the perfect prom dress can be stressful, time consuming and expensive for high school students, as well as parents.

Thanks to Oak Lawn Community High School’s annual dress re-sale, cleverly called, Cinderella’s Closet, on February 11, students were able to browse beautiful ball gowns all in one place at the high school, 9400 Southwest Hwy., Oak Lawn.

“It’s really affordable compared to shopping at department stores,” Abby McLaughlin, 17, of Oak Lawn, said.

McLaughlin was looking for the perfect prom dress, along with several other high school students throughout the day.

“Cinderella’s Closet is one of my favorite events we sponsor for our Oak Lawn Community High School (OLCHS) students and community,” Principal Jeana Lietz said. “Prom dresses have become increasingly expensive and are usually only worn once.  The closet allows students to find a new-to-them dress (or accessories) in a way that is affordable and more environmentally friendly.  Almost everyone who comes to the event is able to find a perfect match to the dress they are looking for.”

The event was sponsored by OLCHS’ cheer team under the direction of Maria Vanderwarren, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and Head Cheer Coach at OLCHS, along with the school’s club, Students Against Destructive Decisions’ facilitators Joseph McCurdy and Jan Balthazor.

“This event was inspired by the opportunity to provide an affordable option for formal dresses for both prom and graduation events for female students,” Vanderwarren said. ​ 

The gently used dress resale has been held for more than ten years at the high school, with a brief hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was open to both OLCHS students and students from neighboring schools.

“For me, it’s all about the happiness it brings to these students when they find a dress they love,” Vanderwarren said. “I absolutely love seeing the look on a student’s face when they find the perfect dress.”

The school in conjunction with the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association held a collection drive items for Cinderella’s Closet at the end of January. More than 200 lightly used dresses and 40 pairs of shoes were donated, along with dress accessories, and unopened make-up. It was required that all dresses be dry cleaned before being donated.

All dresses were sold for a flat rate of $10, all shoes $2 and all unopened makeup was sold for just $1.

“Students who donated their gently used items for this event benefited by knowing they were able to help a student afford a beautiful dress and be able to go to prom looking gorgeous,” Vanderwarren said.

More than 50 students from various high schools in the local area attended Saturday’s sale, including students from: OLCHS, Reavis High School, St. Gerald School, Hancock High School and Lincoln-Way High School.  

A total of $300 was collected at previous year’s events, and this year will not be any different, according to OLCHS staff members.

All proceeds from Cinderella’s Closet went directly to benefit OLCHS’s pos-prom activities.​ 

“Cinderella’s Closet is a fantastic opportunity for students to pick up quality dresses at a great price.  We know prom is a big event, especially for our seniors, and we want to give everyone a chance to have a fantastic dress and look their best,” Marcus Wargin. Assistant Principal at OLCHS, said. “Some of these dresses have only been worn once or twice, so it is definitely worth looking into.  I am grateful to our SADD and Cheer sponsors for putting this together, organizing the dresses, and giving our community this chance to save.”

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Thanks to Oak Lawn Community High School’s annual dress re-sale, cleverly called, Cinderella’s Closet, on February 11, students were able to browse beautiful ball gowns all in one place at the high school, 9400 Southwest Hwy., Oak Lawn.  

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