Westport high schoolers collecting prom gowns and tuxes

Free 'pop-up' store will benefit students who can't afford new


It may be a rite of passage, but junior and senior prom can get expensive. A group of Westport High School students hope to ease the financial burden a bit, and are collecting used gowns and tuxes for those students who can't afford them.

The group's STEEL team (Students That Exemplify Extraordinary Leadership) has been collecting used prom attire since the beginning of the month, and will offer them free to needy students after the fund-raiser ends on Friday, March 24.

Recently "we were talking about fund-raisers we could do," STEEL member Avery Carvalho said. "Prom has been the big topic of conversation the past couple of weeks, and we thought it would be a good idea to have a pop-up shop."

The fund-raiser works like this: Residents who have attire to donate can bring it to the school at any time over the course of the fund-raiser. In early April, STEEL students will hold a 'pop-up' shop in the school cafeteria, where students who need outfits can take them free of charge. They'll be asked for a donation, but it's not required.

Avery said STEEL members still aren't sure where the funds will go, but it will likely benefit a good community cause.

So far, the effort has yielded about 10 tuxes and gowns, but students hope that by the time it ends they'll have brought in 50 or 60.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.