Girls at Cedar Creek High School are getting a little assistance finding something special to wear during prom season - and their wallets are getting a much-needed break, too.

"Operation Get A Gown," sponsored by the Class of 2015, is helping to offset some of the high costs associated with the traditional formal event by offering free prom dresses to students.

Class Adviser Christine Finn began collecting gently worn gowns and dresses donated by staff members about a month ago and set up a display rack in the school's media center.

Any student who needs a dress for whatever reason can browse the selection and if a dress fits and they want it, can bring it home at no cost.

"That's it. There are no strings. They don't even have to return it," Finn said.

Operation Get A Gown is in its second year. Finn said she has gotten a lot of positive feedback from students who are grateful for the help.

The collection features a variety of about 30 donated dresses in all sizes and colors, ranging from full-length to shorter, cocktail-style dresses. About a half dozen students have so far taken advantage of the opportunity to pick out a special dress, and Finn expects that as prom gets closer, more students will check out the offerings.

"Prom is such an expensive endeavor, so we try to help out," said Finn, who is also the school's library media specialist. "We didn't want students to be unable to attend because they did not have something appropriate to wear."

Besides dresses, there are some high heels and shoes and a few dressy wraps to coordinate with the dresses. Students can also pick out some glitzy hair accessories to match.

For one lucky guy, there is a pair of suit pants.

Curious students have been noticing the display for the past few weeks and have been checking it out. Sometimes a student will take a dress and bring it home to try on, and some even take a dress into the restroom or locker room for a fitting.

It's not just students - even some staff members have come to see what's available.

"I was a chaperone at prom last year and actually picked out one of the donated dresses to wear," said Finn, who said she was glad that she didn't have to go out and buy something new.

That black and red dress, by the way, is back on the rack. And if it doesn't find a home with anyone else, it will be either saved as part of next's year collection or donated with the other gowns to the drama department's costume closet, Finn said.

Cedar Creek's prom is set for April 26 at Lucien's Manor in Berlin. The school has one of the earliest prom dates in the area. Sponsored by the junior class, the theme this year is the Roaring Twenties.

Finn said the display rack of prom dresses will be kept up until the end of May in case there are some students attending proms or formals at other schools who can't afford to buy a second dress.

Contact Lucia C. Drake:

609-272-7295