FRONT ROYAL, Va. (WDVM) — As high school students across the country gear up for homecoming over the next few weeks, families may be worrying about the cost. But staff at Warren County Public Schools are telling students: don’t stress about the dress.
When it comes to formal wear, the perfect outfit often has a less than perfect price.
“Some students you know they just don’t want to ask their parents for a $500, $600, $700 gown,” said Michael Hirsch, the director of special services for Warren County Public Schools. “Having four daughters, I know they’re expensive.”
Tucked inside a classroom in Warren County Special Services and Diversified Minds Building, the Glass Slipper offers an alternative that can’t be beat: free formal wear for students. No strings attached.
“Some of the dresses here still have tags on them and they’re over a $100,” said Tara Smith, a Warren County Public Schools social worker who, along with several co-workers who have since retired, founded the Glass Slipper in 2012. “We have others that have been donated that are upward of $300 so they’re expensive.”
The Glass Slipper takes up about half of the classroom, and houses hundreds of dresses, ranging from short homecoming-style dresses to the long gowns popular at prom. Students can also find shoes, suits, jewelry, and purses.
Volunteers say seeing the kids faces when they find the perfect item is priceless.
“It’s really powerful,” said JoAnna Martin, the school’s social emotional behavior coach who also volunteers at the Glass Slipper. “Watching their faces when they walk in and just seeing them light up is really exciting and then you know watching the choices. Sometimes there’s a little bit of a hunt for one, and then when they find that special one it’s really exciting to see them happy and ready to go to the dance.”
Students can pick out clothes every Thursday during October between 2:45 and 5 p.m., except on Halloween. No appointments are needed. Any students who can’t make those hours can also reach out to their guidance counselor to find a separate time.
The Glass Slipper is always taking donations for more formal wear, especially for dresses for small and plus sized students. Anyone who wants to donate can call the Special Services office at 540-635-2725.