Becca’s Closet offering free prom dresses to Alaska high school students

Becca’s Closet offering free prom dresses to Alaska high school students
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 10:46 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Rows of dresses, filled with sequins and different sizes, are waiting for high schools students to sort through them this spring.

After a two-year prom pause, Becca’s Closet, a national nonprofit organization, is donating free dresses to Alaska high school students, in addition to shoes and accessories, through its Anchorage chapter.

“It’s really important because some people don’t have the opportunity or wouldn’t want to go to dances if they had to pay for a really expensive dress that they’re only going to wear a couple of times,” said Katrina Marshall, a South Anchorage sophomore training with the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.

With events scheduled for April 2, 9 and 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Anchorage School District Education Center in East Anchorage, members of the South Anchorage Air Force Junior ROTC are helping high students find their perfect dress. The event is open to any high school student in Alaska.

“I really like seeing how happy they are when they find one that fits,” Marshall said.

Becca’s Closet was created following the death of Florida high school student Rebecca Kirtman, who died in a car crash in August 2003 at age 16. Before her tragic death, Kirtman launched a drive to collect prom dresses for high school girls that could not afford the expensive evening wear.

With hundreds of dresses to choose from at the education center on E. Northern Lights Boulevard, Marshall said there is something for everyone. Dresses are sorted by size and color, allowing students to have a stress-free experience in finding the perfect dress. All the dresses at Becca’s Closet were donated by the community and include brand names such as David’s Bridal and Banana Republic. Some dresses still have the tags attached.

During Marshall’s time volunteering at previous Becca’s Closet events, she said she has only seen one girl not go home with a dress. With two events already under its belt this year, and three yet to come, Becca’s Closet has already had over 80 dresses donated.

South senior Quinn Jamieson, another Air Force Junior ROTC student, said this year’s prom is special because it is the first one they have had since 2019, after COVID-19 cancelled the previous two.

“We haven’t had a chance to get a junior prom, so for a lot of us, this is our first big dance,” Jamieson said.

For some students, Jamieson said this year’s prom marks not just the first, but also the last dance for many.

“It’s important to find that dress because ... it could be their first big dance and they want to look their best and they aren’t going to really have another chance,” Jamieson said.

With the work that Becca’s Closet does, the organization is making prom a possibility for all students by breaking the financial barrier of purchasing a new dress.

“Not many girls get an opportunity to get a dress,” Rachael Foster, a South Anchorage sophomore Air Force ROTC student, said. “Dresses are very expensive and so having an open area that they’re able to see different dress options and not be conformed by the price tag.”

Additional information can be found on the Becca’s Closet Anchorage Facebook page.

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