The Upper School HOPE (Helping Out People Everywhere) club was active in late winter and early spring, sponsoring two clothing-related events to help others. The first was a prom dress drive, held from February 18 to March 4, to support Operation Prom, a nonprofit organization that provides low-income students across the country with free dresses and tuxedos for their proms. “The drive’s efforts led to the collection of 82 prom dresses, along with jewelry and evening bags,” says Caitlyn Young, HOPE’s faculty advisor. “What a great way for those beautiful, worn once or never worn dresses hanging in D-E community closets to make a difference!”
The donations were brought to the local donation site in Jersey City for the spring prom season.
The club’s second event was the sixth annual HOPE Fashion Show on April 9 in Hajjar Auditorium. Club leader Camryn Leibowitz ’16 explains, “The theme this year was the Great Gatsby, and the proceeds from the tickets went directly to the Paterson- based nonprofit charity Oasis: A Haven for Women and Children, which has the mission of changing the lives of women and children by breaking the cycle of poverty through compassionate programming.”
The event featured art deco-style decorations and food, fashionable candy rings, “mocktails,” and a Gatsby-themed photo booth. Andoni Tsougarakis ’16 was the emcee, and performers included the D-E Dance Group, singers Amanda Haroutunian ’17 and Olivia Garcia ’16, and piano accompanist Julia Braverman ’17. Following remarks from a representative from Oasis, who spoke about the organization’s mission and work, the fashion show began. About 40 models strutted down the runway to the soundtrack to the 2013 Gatsby film.
Camryn says, “Girls wore all kinds of 1920s-styled outfits provided by SeeSaw in Tenafly, NJ, while the boys wore tuxedos from Biltmore Tuxedos in Ridgewood, NJ. The turnout for the show was amazing, and HOPE raised over $2,100 to donate to Oasis.”