Milton Hershey School Students Find the Perfect Fit for Prom in Cinderella’s Closet
It’s no secret that dressing up for prom is a very special occasion for any student—especially at Milton Hershey School. For some students, as special as this moment might be, finding the perfect outfit can be an added stressor. At MHS, we work to alleviate that stress by providing prom dresses and outfits to students who are struggling financially or otherwise.
Through Cinderella’s Closet—located in Copenhaver Center—MHS staff and community members can donate new or lightly-used dresses for students to wear for prom—free of charge. Programs like Cinderella’s Closet allow community members, like Sharon Hurst, Payroll Coordinator, to get involved.
“I shared about MHS and Cinderella’s Closet at a conference and when I was finished, a woman approached me about donating dresses from a dress shop she previously owned,” said Hurst. “Over the span of several years, she facilitated the donation of more than a hundred dresses to Cinderella’s Closet. Being able to make this connection was truly rewarding.”
This opportunity does more than just provide dresses, it also develops students’ character and leadership skills.
“All of the gowns that are in Cinderella’s Closet are donated from bridal shops and various community members,” shared Sharice Johnson, MHS Student Character and Leadership Coordinator, who manages this program. “This program has been operating for more than two decades now and has helped dozens of students feel special at their prom.”
Cinderella’s Closet gives students the opportunity to practice positivity towards themselves and others, while also developing confidence and self-care habits. Students can get involved with the program as volunteer. This customer service-like role helps students understand how to work with others, encourages them along their shopping journey, and advocates for more styles and sizes of dresses. Before leaving the closet and after choosing their gown, the students are asked if they’re saying yes to the dress.
“As an MHS student, it is very comforting knowing you have an opportunity to get a dress—for free—so we don’t have to worry about looking the part for prom despite other financial struggles,” shared Mattie Barber, MHS senior. “I enjoyed getting to choose as many dresses as I wanted and also receiving feedback because it is nice to have a second opinion on your selection.”
In the coming years, Johnson hopes to include different departments and Career and Technical Education program pathways on campus, to make the closet even more functional for students’ needs. By building platforms for the students to showcase their outfits and placing empowering posters around the room, Sharice hopes to make the space a safe place for all students to find their perfect fit before prom.
Johnson added, “Students realize this is a resource to them in a time of need, which directly aligns with the mission of MHS. By offering this additional service, we are expanding upon our while child approach to caring for each student that walks through our doors.”
Every student deserves to have their magical moment in a dress or outfit that makes them feel extraordinary. Soon, MHS seniors will put on their gowns and suits for their own prom—more than 20 of those students having found their dress at Cinderella’s Closet.