Time to shine for East and South Auckland students

March 20, 2024

Time to shine for East and South Auckland students

Students try on pre-loved ball attire at Shine Again event. Photo: Isabella Reeve

An East Auckland teacher has launched a pre-loved gown initiative to combat expensive ball costs for East and South Auckland Students.

Botany Downs Secondary College teacher Tina Clapperton recognised the high costs involved in attending a school ball and decided to hold a free event: Shine Again.

Clapperton initially thought of the idea when she cleared out her wardrobe and came across four ballgowns.

“I took to the [East Auckland] grapevine and posted up asking if anyone wants them for their daughter’s ball or if anyone knows someone who collects ball dresses that I could pass them on to.

“By the end of the night people were commenting back on the post saying if you find anyone who is collecting let us know as we have dresses to give away too, and I thought ‘hey there could be something in this.’”

Clapperton contacted local schools and Facebook groups for donations and got help from colleagues and students to bring the event to life.

“The kids made size tags for us, my design teacher did the posters, logos and direction signs, the reception was the drop-off point, the dance teacher provided the room so there were mirrors, and the uniform shop provided the changing tents.”

The community donated 334 ball gowns and 30 suits covering a wide range of sizes.

Clapperton estimates the value of the donations at $80,000.

Students were invited to the two-day event at Botany Downs Secondary College this past weekend to select one ball outfit and take it for free.

“Mums are saying they’re just so appreciative because they can’t afford it and they don’t know where to go and look for them.

“Here they’ve got over 300 [gowns] their daughters can look through and find what they like.”

A Botany Downs Secondary College student volunteer said it has been great to see students from all over coming through.

“This is such a cool event, and it makes it so much easier to go to [the] ball.”

Clapperton saw a real boost in self-confidence among the students.

“When a girl comes out, we all stop to see and comment on how stunning they look.”

Botany Downs Secondary College learning support teacher Donna enjoyed the happy atmosphere.

“It's so nice when they come out with a big smile and are feeling so proud of themselves, it makes my heart burst.”

Clapperton said after the event is finished, she will package any leftover dresses and offer them to the local schools.

“They can keep them in a cupboard so if something happens closer to their ball and a student’s dress falls through, they will have some backups.”

Watch this video to see more of the pre-loved ball attire at Tina Clapperton’s Shine Again event.

https://youtu.be/7fMhcAnErIE

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