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Effort allows NHS students to show up for prom in style

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Deputy Anthony Alexander stands in front of a rack of dresses in the prom closet at Northeastern High School, Friday.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Some students attending the Northeastern High School prom tonight will be decked out thanks to the efforts of NHS’ school resource officer and an outpouring of community support.

Deputy Anthony Alexander recently organized a “prom closet” that assembled some 250 gowns, plus a number of suits for young men and dress shoes for both women and men. The clothing will be worn by students to Northeastern’s prom which is today from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Museum of the Albemarle. 

Alexander credited the idea for the prom closet to divine inspiration.

“I was sitting at home — and I’m a church guy — and the Lord touched my heart that there are young people that want to go to prom that can’t afford it,” he said Friday.

Alexander said he had heard of a prom closet program that had been done elsewhere, so he decided starting one at NHS would be a great project for him to spearhead as the school resource officer.

“I felt for some of our young people to feel like a prince or princess they needed a king, and I stepped in to be their temporary school king so they could be part of a royal court,” Alexander said.

Support for the prom closet seemed to take off after Alexander set up a table with information about the project at the Eagle Expo in March.

“That kind of really spurred it,” NHS Principal Angela Cobb said. “After that it really started going crazy.”

Cobb and Alexander both said support for the prom closet has streamed in from students, parents, alumni, businesses and churches.

Because both Cobb and Alexander are graduates of Northeastern’s Class of 1985, they naturally reached out to their fellow alumni for support. Alexander said there was extensive alumni participation in the effort, with donations coming in from as far away as Baltimore.

Belk also offered a substantial discount on clothes, Royal Fashions did alterations at no cost, and hair stylists have donated their services. One donor has even made a Mercedes available for the night to pick up some of the prom attendees so they can arrive in style.

“It’s been an awesome thing for the community to come together on this,” Alexander said.

Northeastern has garnered so many clothing donations through its prom closet that it’s reached out to middle schools in the district as well as Pasquotank County High School to offer help to students there who may need it.

Cobb said the outpouring of support for the prom closet is just the latest wave of community good will that’s been lifting up the school all year. She noted the excitement the school football team’s quest for a state championship generated in the community. There have also been a number of community donations to NHS as well as a lot of volunteer support for school projects, she said.

“We’ve even had donations for ticket costs (to attend prom),” Cobb said. “We didn’t want there to be any barriers” to attendance.

 

This year’s prom colors at Northeastern are black and gold in honor of the school’s 50th anniversary.

“This coincides with that perfectly because this is a special year,” Cobb said, referring to the prom closet. “I think one of our big points of focus this year at Northeastern has been community.”

Cobb said she got to experience the excitement with a number of girls as they tried on their gowns from the prom closet. She said her own gown for this year’s prom came from the prom closet.

Early in the week a few students modeled some of the gowns during the school’s lunch periods to give students an idea of what was available.

“That was fun,” Alexander said.

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