Prom dress consignment sale a hit with Norwin High School students

| Friday, March 7, 2014, 4:42 p.m.

Prom is usually the biggest party of the year for high school students.

But for many of the girls who attend, it's all about the dress.

At Norwin High School, putting a stylish outfit together for prom just got easier — and cheaper.

Students recently held their first prom dress consignment sale to raise money to help defray the cost of tickets for the prom on May 9.

“The idea of a consignment sale came up during the past few years, so this year when our class advisor brought it up, the class officers said ‘Let's do it,'” said Anna Rohac, 16, of North Huntingdon, who is the junior class president.

Rohac said she and her identical twin sister, Becca — the class vice president — loved the concept because “we're both pretty thrifty.”

“I thought it was an awesome idea,” Becca said. “I know that there are a lot of girls like us who have spent money on nice dresses and then only wore them once or a maybe a few times. So why not sell them and use the money toward another one?”

Anna said holding the sale also benefits students who find it difficult to cover the cost of attending the prom.

“A gown is gown — depending on your taste, they can all be beautiful,” she said. “So the sale is a way for girls to not only get something really nice, they can save a lot of money.”

A number of the dresses that are on sale are in the “$400 to $500 range” and were sold for about $200, Becca said.

Danae Brentzel-Martina, the junior class advisor, said some of the most expensive dresses donated are valued at around $1,200.

“I'd say it's a pretty good deal to be able to get a $1,200 gown for $50,” she said. “And we still have some of those available.

“But more importantly, my concern as a teacher and parent is that the girls have come to realize that not every family can afford to spend the kind of money for dresses, tickets, tuxedos and all the other costs associated with attending the prom,” she said. “So the sale has really helped make prom affordable and accessible for everyone.”

People who put dresses on consignment set the sale price and receive 65 percent of the money, with the remaining 35 percent used to reduce prom ticket prices.

Anna said the class officers began planning the consignment sale after the Christmas break, but began to “get a little nervous” as the Feb. 24 sale approached “because we only had about 30 dresses to sell.”

But that changed in the days following the annual Prom Fashion Show on Feb. 19.

“During the fashion show we announced that we still needed dresses for the sale,” Anna said. “And people really came through. It was like an explosion of dresses — we went from 30 to more than 110.”

A number of the dresses available for sale were donated rather than put on consignment, she said, adding that they were sold for $50 and the entire amount went to reduce the cost of prom tickets.

While putting the consignment sale together “has been a lot of fun” for the girls involved, it has also been a learning opportunity, Brentzel-Martina said.

“We try to develop leadership skills and independent team building,” she said. “So from an educational standpoint, the kids involved in this have been learning how to work through all the details and decisions that have to be made to put this together.”

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or at

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