A global pandemic paused scholastic rites of passage including traditions of proms, graduations, parties and more during the 2019-20 academic year, but Scottsdale Schools will turn a past nightmare into a fairytale.
Just as Cinderella had a fairy god mother help her get to the palace ball, despite disdain, Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board member Patty Beckman has become a fairy god mother too as she has amassed numerous formal attire ready to disperse for SUSD students to be able to dress up for this year’s prom.
“Prom is happening in SUSD. We are taking quite a few risk mitigation measures, but I am thrilled the kids will have the experience. I have continued to collect dresses and formal wear over the last year and I have like 1,500! So we are once again doing Project Prom so our students that may be financially challenged can still look and feel great,” Ms. Beckman said.
Project Prom 2021 is set for 5-8 p.m., Friday, April 2 and 12-3 p.m., Saturday, April 3 in the parking lot at Saguaro High School, 6250 N. 82nd St.
SUSD students with current ID qualify for free formal wear. Among the dresses are accessories, shoes and men’s wear. There will be entertainment and refreshments for the event kicking off prom season.
The prom is the high school “ball” for students looking forward to the dance, their dates and donning formal wear so Ms. Beckman, along with the Scottsdale Education Association and Scottsdale Parent Council, wished to provide an opportunity for more SUSD students to attend.
Getting the idea in 2019, when she learned of Paradise Valley Unified School District and its local education association holding an event to give formal wear to students, Ms. Beckman stated how she “thought it was a fantastic idea and knew we had to do it in SUSD.”
“I did a Prom Dress drive with the Scottsdale Parent Council and the Scottsdale Education Association last spring. As a result, we received about 300 dresses,” Ms. Beckman said.
“After prom was canceled, due to COVID, all year I kept quietly taking in donations from community members. While bittersweet, some boutiques that closed also donated. It was very sad to see these stores close, but at least the dresses have gone to a worthy cause.”
According to Independent archives, Ms. Beckman noted how many students lacked funds to participate in the prom so “this is one small thing that we can do for them.”
Before last year’s event was stopped by the pandemic, she described how much it meant that her sister let her wear “an old bridesmaid dress of hers” to go to the prom at the time with the man who is now her husband.
The prom-focused event, she said, became a team effort as the Saguaro career and technical education students designed flyers and the local Super Cuts offered to donate haircuts and up-do hairstyles.
She added she hopes for at least 300 students to take advantage of the upcoming opportunity.
“My heart is full knowing our juniors and seniors will be able to attend prom and take part in one of the greatest rights of passage while in high school. It is very emotional for all. We are grateful to our principals, teachers, and the leadership team, for working hard to offer our students a safe, fun and memory filled evening,” Ms. Beckman said.
In the past, according to the district, prom participants ranged from 200 to 800 students depending on the high school.
This school year, since transitioning back on campus and attempting to resume school-related activities, a smaller number of participants are said to be anticipated; but “expect they will all be excited to resume some normalcy while adhering to mitigation measures put in place.”
However, proms and graduations will not be fully restored as before despite mitigation strategies in place and participation being limited based on capacity, district officials added.
For more information on Project Prom, email firstname.lastname@example.org.