"This is it!" the girl exclaimed, pulling a strapless lilac gown off the rack. "This is the dress."
Similar cries could be heard throughout the room this past Saturday as high school girls examined and tried on gorgeous -- and expensive -- prom and ball dresses.
But this wasn't some upscale dress shop. It was Rooms 809 and 810 at Liverpool High School, and the dresses were part of a giveaway sponsored by the Liverpool chapter of Becca's Closet. The organization collects gently used formalwear and distributes it to high schoolers who can't afford to buy it.
Becca's Closet was founded in memory of 16-year-old Florida resident Rebecca "Becca" Kirtman, who was killed in an automobile accident on August 20, 2003. In the spring of her freshman year at Nova High School, Kirtman had launched a dress bank providing dresses and formal accessories to high school girls wanting to attend their prom/homecoming, but who did not have the resources to purchase them. In the spring of 2003, she collected over 250 dresses. Kirtman's motto? "Little things can make a difference."
Becca's Closet at Liverpool
The organization has chapters across the country. Liverpool's chapter was started this year by LHS senior Brittany LaRue, who was inspired to launch it after seeing a piece on the program on MTV.
"My mom and I saw it and we thought it would be a good idea to start something in Central New York," LaRue said. "So I talked to my principal and my superintendent about starting a chapter, and they were definitely on board. They thought it was a such a great idea."
LHS Principal Greg Avellino said he thought there was definitely a place for the organization at Liverpool.
"It gives kids an opportunity to attend a prom or ball when they might not have been able to attend before," Avellino said. "When Brittany came to me about it, I was excited that this will give all children a chance to attend an important event without having to worry about how they're going to finance it."