Prom season is not for another couple months, but hundreds of students from St. Louis Public Schools and Jennings Senior High already have their minds on the special day.
Students from Soldan High School visited the Urban League in Midtown Thursday in search of the perfect prom dress. The available dresses were from the Wedding Gallery. The business, once small, is now able to give. Its owner, Nagwa Abdelghfour, donated more than 1,000 gowns to the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
"It not just makes them happy, it also teaches them something," Abdelghfour said. "Now you feel like they will know that other people think about them so they will think about other people also."
Then, the organization was in for another exciting surprise.
"We got over 700 tuxedo jackets," said Angelia Bills, vice president of communications for the Urban League.
The jackets are from Joseph A. Bank Clothiers. The Urban League decided students would be the best recipients.
"We reached out to the principals and guidance counselors and they decided that they would be based on academic achievement and need," Bills said.
Each teen wrote an essay describing how receiving a gown or jacket would help their families financially.
"I wasn't going to go to prom because, at my school, we have senior dues and I have college enrollment fees and that's like $600 all together," student Jazlen Durgins said. "Now I can go."
The girls have plenty of dresses to choose from. They come in all different designs and sizes.
"When I went to the stores, sizes were so limited," student Rachel Hightower said. "I feel like this is a great opportunity to have such a size range."
As they find a comfortable fit, they're comforted knowing someone cares.
"I really appreciate this," student Tyrek Cutts said.
Even more students will receive prom dresses on Friday, Feb. 10. If you'd like to donate a new or gently used dress, contact the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.