By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager
Prom night rules as the annual rite of passage for teens. It’s an evening for corsages, tuxedos, gowns and slow dancing. Girls morph into young ladies, and boys become gentlemen.
For the blossoming students of the TC Marsh Leadership Cadet Corps (LCC) at Marsh Preparatory Academy, prom night is the LCC Military Ball, which takes place May 6 at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church. This is their coveted event, their moment of social-emotional maturation. The ball includes dinner, an awards presentation, a change of command ceremony, a special guest speaker, two photo slideshows, and a dance.
So naturally these ladies need dresses, accessories and make-up. After all, this is their night to shine. The LCC members, forming part of Big Thought’s Thriving Mind After School program, spent March 4 at St. Andrew Prom Closet 2016 in Plano, an event of St. Andrew United Methodist Church now in its eighth year. Thirteen young ladies got the royal treatment from the Prom Closet volunteers. They chose gowns, shoes, necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Beauty products rounded out the bag of ball goodies.
“Sometimes the girls will ask if they have to wear a dress, or even worse they tell me they can’t attend,” says Corporal Miriam Gaytan, LCC Instructor, underscoring the financial hardship that comes with buying attire for a formal event. “Most of the girls who attend will wear a skirt or simple summer dress, but this year they will have gorgeous gowns. As a matter of fact, the girls each talked about wearing their gowns at multiple events this year. They were so excited and couldn’t wait to show their parents.”
Bernice Davis, mother of 14-year-old Cyniece Davis, an 8th grader who’s in her third year with LCC, couldn’t be happier for her daughter. She has nothing but praise for the Prom Closet experience.
“She chose a very beautiful dress,” says Davis. “It is a sleeveless dress, gold at the top and black at the bottom. It is a very elegant dress. It totally fits her personality. Going to the Prom Closet was like going to the mall for Cyniece. The staff was wonderful! I feel so honored and blessed.”
The Prom Closet experience is yet another way that Big Thought’s Thriving Minds program continues to close gaps and build bridges. The LCC ladies work hard all year with service projects, from food and clothing drives to Wreaths Across America, and their rigorous leadership classes. They planted the seeds, and now spring brings the blooms. The Military Ball is their much-deserved bouquet.
“For us, the Military Ball is a celebration of our accomplishments throughout the school year, an acknowledgement of our past student leaders, and the presentation of our new student leaders for next year,” says Corporal Gaytan. “We laugh, we cry, and we strengthen our resolve to continue to make our leadership cadet program the best it can be.”
Corporal Gaytan is particularly elated because she looks at the generous work of the Prom Closet volunteers as a reciprocal thank you for the LCC’s service-focused endeavors.
“My heart is full of joy and gratitude,” she says. “Our motto is ‘Do what you can with what you have right now.’ Thus, the cadets organize several community projects throughout the school year. It is wonderful to see the community pay it forward to them.”
Dresses, shoes, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and makeup. The LCC ladies are ready. Their Military Ball promises to be better than prom night.