‘God­moth­ers’ for Grad­u­ates

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Len­noxville

Prom night should be a night to re­mem­ber fondly for years, but it doesn’t al­ways work out that way. Pre­par­ing for a high school prom, even an ele­men­tary school grad­u­a­tion as well, can be stress­ful. For many

stu­dents, grad­u­a­tion night will be their first for­mal event and, pre­par­ing for it can be daunt­ing and costly; so ex­pen­sive that some stu­dents don’t at­tend.

En­ter the Prom Fairies, three women from the Len­noxville and Water­ville area, Nancy Grey, Wanda Evans and Marie Letem­plier, who have been mak­ing prom night not only pos­si­ble but mag­i­cal for any stu­dent who asks. “The Prom Fairies are open to ev­ery­one. This year, be­sides our Galt stu­dents, we have three ele­men­tary school stu­dents and one stu­dent from Rich­mond High School who we are help­ing,” said Ms. Grey, of Water­ville, who started the ini­tia­tive five years ago.

What these three women pro­vide for stu­dents truly is sur­pris­ing: al­most any­thing they need! These fairies have at their dis­posal dozens of dresses and gowns and suits for the boys, do­nated en­thu­si­as­ti­cally from peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, to lend to stu­dents on prom night; but it doesn’t stop there. “We’ll also buy shoes, jewelry, and pay to have their make-up and hair done at the salon. We’ve even helped stu­dents pay for grad­u­a­tion pic­tures and rings; any­thing they need be­cause we feel they re­ally de­serve it,” Ms. Grey ex­plained. The Prom Fairies also pro­vide money to stu­dents who need help to buy that ‘per­fect’ dress and they rent tuxe­dos for the boys.

“I never went to my prom. We had a big fam­ily…,” Nancy con­tin­ued. “So about five years ago I got this idea to try and help at least one per­son to make it to their prom. I put it out on Face­book that I was look­ing for dresses and I got lots of re­sponses. The first year we helped one girl with a dress, jewelry, ev­ery­thing.”

Ms. Evans, who has worked as a Spe­cial Ed­u­ca­tion Tech­ni­cian at Alexan­der Galt High School for eight years, was mo­ti­vated to get in­volved with her friend’s unique ser­vice soon af­ter it be­gan. “Over the years you get close to the kids. Many I’ve known since grade seven, some from kinder­garten; I know their sit­u­a­tion. Some­times I’ll ask a stu­dent if they are okay for prom, if they have all they need, be­cause they’re shy to ask,” she said. And ask is all they need to do, they don’t need to ex­plain why they’re ask­ing. “Nancy al­ways says to me ‘I don’t need to know their story; it’s enough that they have the nerve to ask for help’.”

Marie Letem­plier is the seam­stress of the trio, putting her tal­ents with the nee­dle to use for the wor­thy cause. “Marie fits the gowns to the girls. She takes them home and makes all the al­ter­ations, and some­times adds bling to the dresses,” men­tioned Nancy.

In the Prom Fairies five years, they have gone from out­fit­ting that one stu­dent the first year to help­ing twenty-one stu­dents this grad­u­a­tion sea­son. “We have been get­ting more kids ev­ery year,” said Nancy. “I ad­ver­tise in the school bul­letin and some stu­dents just drop by my room. It’s not as taboo to ask for help as it once was – the stu­dents seem more open now. We even have three boys this year so that’s ex­cit­ing. We told them to choose what they wanted; if you want a top hat to go with your tuxedo then get a top hat,” added Wanda.

The Prom Fairies have been get­ting great sup­port from the com­mu­nity for their pop­u­lar cause. “When we held a bingo to raise money, many of the peo­ple who came brought dresses and suits with them to do­nate. Global Ex­cel did a call out to their em­ploy­ees for dresses, and the Women’s Cen­tre has helped,” said Nancy. The Galt Tal­ent Show has helped raise money and they’ve been able to bor­row dresses for their pro­duc­tion. A raf­fle is go­ing on right now to raise money for the Prom Fairies. The prize is a $600 voucher to­wards any con­cen­tra­tion pro­gram (Art, Science or Sport) at Galt and the tick­ets can be bought from ei­ther one of the women.

Asked what they en­joyed about their roles as ‘Fairies’, Nancy said: “Just see­ing their faces when they walk out of the hair­dresser, maybe for

the first time, with more con­fi­dence.” Wanda added: “It’s nice to see kids, for once, get­ting what they wanted. And to see their re­ac­tion; they’re so grate­ful. On prom day I’ll be busy go­ing to sa­lons with the stu­dents and then I go to the prom. It’s a pretty tir­ing day, but it’s fun.”

There is still time to ask the Prom Fairies for help with this year’s grad­u­a­tions, whether for Ele­men­tary or High School. “Last year three In­ter­na­tional stu­dents came to us in the last week for help. We fixed them up. Stu­dents can ap­proach us right up to the last week be­fore the Galt prom,” said Ms. Grey. Stu­dents who need ei­ther a lit­tle or a lot of help to pre­pare for their big night can ei­ther talk to a teacher or Ms. Evans about the pro­gram, send a mes­sage to the Prom Fairies on Face­Book, or call Wanda Evans at 819 5657099 or Nancy Grey at 819 5697963.

Nancy Grey poses in her Prom Fairy t-shirt at the Bingo fundraiser.

Photo San­dra Hodge

Prom Fairies (left to right) Marie Letem­plier and Wanda Evans are help­ing twenty stu­dents pre­pare for their grad­u­a­tions this year, lend­ing dresses and suits and so much more.

Photo Wanda Evans

The closet in the small room that Galt high school has do­nated to the Prom Fairies is stuffed with gowns, dresses and suits - just some of the Prom night pos­si­bil­i­ties.

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