Teacher sets up prom dress loaning business


By Hailey Stolze

Special Education teacher Renee Proksel initiated a dress loaning business for Bellevue West students after one of her students gave her the idea. She says she knew a student that wanted to go to prom but couldn’t afford a dress.

“I thought, ‘I bet there are more girls like this,’” Proksel said.

Senior Brandi Garner has also noticed the amount of girls who don’t attend prom due to money issues.

“It saves money for those who can’t afford a dress. You get one for a night and then you return it,” Garner said.

At first, dresses were only loaned to Special Education students. However, as the organization progressed, she opened it up to all students.

“I got this idea about a week ago, and it blossomed,” Proksel said.

She’s already loaned eight dresses out after about a week’s business. Proksel then sent out an e-mail to staff members asking them to donate. Ever since, students and teachers have been donating five to ten dresses per day to help her cause. Some still had the tag on.

“This has taken off bigger than I anticipated,” Proksel said.

Junior Tasha Magee is one of several who donated. She wanted to benefit less-fortunate others. Magee believes students and teachers should give their dresses that they no longer use to help those who can’t afford to buy their own.

“I had dresses just lying around that I didn’t wear,” Magee said.

Garner agrees that students and teachers should look for dresses they don’t use anymore to give to others.

“If you’re not going to use [dresses from past events], they’re probably just going to collect dust in your closet. Might as well give them to somebody who will use them,” Garner said.

Though Proksel’s extremely thankful students and teachers have been donating so much, she’s now concerned about storage space.

“I’m running out of space to teach,” Proksel said.

To fix this problem, Proksel’s main focus is spreading the word. She posted fliers around the school and mentioned the dresses in the morning announcements to get more publicity.

“I just want the word to get out,” Proksel said.

She plans to continue her business for future events as well. Her hopes are to expand her dress loaning to activities like Homecoming, Military Ball, church events and more.

“Hopefully, any girl that wants to go [to prom] will have the opportunity to go and feel like a princess,” Proksel said.

Any Bellevue West students wanting to donate or looking to loan a dress should go to room 156 before or after school.