Alle-Kiski students are Runway Ready
By Rex Rutkoski
Published: Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012
For Katie Riggs, there is no doubt.
"As a senior, I feel the prom is the last important event of high school, besides graduation day," says the Kiski Area High School student. "It's my last chance to make memories with friends."
She is not alone in her thinking as schools throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley, including Kiski this Saturday and Springdale on Feb. 12, prepare for their galas with winter fashion shows, helping students to be ready when the big day and night arrives this spring.
The fun gets off to an early (10:30 a.m.) start at Kiski on Saturday.
"We hold it early, so that it doesn't interfere with other events people have planned for the day," says teacher Jennifer Marinelli McAfee, prom-show coordinator. "Bridal shows are generally held in the morning and do well, so we figured we would have a good turnout using that time slot. Some students are looking for their prom gowns now, so it allows them a chance to see the dresses, then go try them on at the store."
The show's goal is to present today's most popular prom styles, while helping a great cause: Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), says McAfee, who teaches history and driver education and is the SADD sponsor.
"We put on numerous programs throughout the year to help promote a drug-and-alcohol-free lifestyle," she says. That includes a Christmas Coffeehouse, semi-formal dance, a mock crash, Grim Reaper Day, and working with the Light of Life Mission to benefit the homeless.
The semi-formal's theme of "Fairytale Dreams" carries over to the prom fashion show. It will include 30 designer gowns from the Exquisite Bride, Murrysville, 15 tuxes from Top Hat Tuxedo in Pittsburgh Mills mall, Frazer, hair designs by local hair salons, various vendors (more are welcome, say organizers), raffles and giveaways and cookies and refreshments.
"We hope that students from other school districts will come to see the show, too, as well as parents, grandparents or anyone else who may have a daughter, son or grandchild going to the prom," McAfee says.
A step ahead
"I like the chance to view dresses without the hassle of going to the stores," says Katie Riggs, the SADD president who helped set up the show and ushered the past two years. This year, Riggs is emceeing with fellow senior Brandon McCaslin.
Senior Matt Dailey, a model and SADD member, says it is "fun to show off some of the styles for the upcoming season." He is looking forward to the May 19 Junior-Senior Prom at Laube Hall in Freeport Community Park.
The prom remains a good way to end the senior year, says senior Katie Liebert, another model. "Everyone seems to look forward to it. If you like to dress up and dance, then the prom is important," she says.
McAfee believes the prom still is a signature event in a student's life.
"They want to look their best, and it signifies the end of the school year and, for seniors, the end of high school," she says. "It is an important event that people recall usually later on in life and are pleased that they participated. The Prom show is great, and a lot of our guys and gals like to take part in it. We enjoy putting it on and hope to see as many people as possible on Saturday."
Cue the chiffon and satin for the "Runway to the Stars" prom fashion show at 2 p.m. Feb. 12 at Springdale Junior-Senior High School.
High-school juniors will sashay down the catwalk in the latest gowns and tuxes in this fundraiser for Springdale's junior-senior prom later this year at Lingrow Farm in Gilpin.
The fashion extravaganza will include a Chinese auction and bake sale.
Planning the fashion show, which will take place in the school auditorium, proved to be an exercise in repetitive elegant dressing for the members of the high-school prom committee.
"It gave me a chance to see what styles are in this year," says Katie Rop, 16, of Springdale, a member of the committee.
She is among 17 girls and 15 boys who will don the festive prom attire from Babe's Broadway Bridal in New Kensington and Top Hat Tuxedo in the Waterworks mall near Fox Chapel.
There are hard decisions to make: A poofy dress or sleek column gown?
Rop will model two dresses. She chose a strapless ball gown and a hot-pink satin frock with rhinestone-studded straps and a cut-out back.
There were more than 100 dresses perused by the girls of the prom committee for potential fashion show stoppers, according to Mary Beth Sikora, mother of prom committee president, Emily Sikora, 17, of Cheswick.
Each girl will model two dresses.
"We all had our own style," Emily Sikora says. "And we stuck to what we liked with our shape."
She tried on close to 15 prom dresses and said input from her classmates was invaluable in narrowing down her choices.
Both girls say the fashions in style this year include snug numbers with open backs and a lot of dresses in blues and pinks.
"All of the prom committee officers have got a pink dress for the show and each is a different shade," Rop says.
Mary Beth Sikora, who is helping her daughter plan the event, wants to see a crowd at the fashion show, because the admission money will defray the costs of the prom and lower the ticket price to students.
"The school does not put the prom on, this committee does," she says.
And it's a tradition that the junior class man the prom committee to raise the money for the pinnacle social event for the senior class.
The committee has sent out 190 letters seeking donations from local businesses in Cheswick and Springdale.
"It's very expensive to put on proms," Sikora says. "You're putting on a small wedding."
With the fashion show and other fundraisers, she hopes to not exceed last year's prom ticket price of $55.
Kiski Area High School Prom Fashion Show
When: 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday
Where: Kiski Area High School Auditorium, Allegheny Township
Admission: $3; $1 for students
Details: 724-845-8181, ext. 5120Additional Information:
Runway to the Stars! Springdale High School Fashion Show
When: 2 p.m. Feb. 12
Where: Marshall Auditorium, Springdale Junior-Senior High School
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