Boutique caters to formal crowd

Submitted photo East Palestine High School seniors (from front) Hayley McElroy, Blair Nulf, Payton Ream and Delaney Snyder model dresses that have been donated to Eppy’s Attic.

EAST PALESTINE — A new clothing boutique is now available for East Palestine High School students right within their own building.

The Eppy’s Attic boutique was created by the school after members of the district’s Key Communicator group looked into ways to help high school students with finding formal and semi-formal attire for various events.

High school English teacher Emily Randolph said the boutique consists of gently used items that have been donated by other students and the community. Students have access to the items by scheduling private shopping appointments with Randolph for before or after school hours.

“We felt very strongly that a student should never feel as though they could not attend a school function because they did not have the proper clothing. We wanted to find a way to provide formal and/or semi formal wear to any high school students that required it regardless of financial situation,” Randolph said of those involved in the Key Communicator group.

Key Communicators was created by Superintendent Traci Hostetler shortly after she was hired in 2015.

Randolph said the volunteer group of community members works together to inspire change and act as a support for the elementary, middle and high schools students, staff and administration.

Typically, a formal dress for prom or homecoming can cost anywhere from $100 to $400, if not more, depending on brand and style — a pretty penny for something only worn one time at best.

Randolph said that in the weeks since the idea was made public among the school, many former male and female students have shown an interest in building the boutique’s offerings through the donation of their own formal wear.

“Formal wear tends to be hard to get rid of once you graduate and I think they like knowing that they will be able to help someone out by passing it on,” Randolph said.

As of a last week the boutique had 40 dresses and some shoes available through donations.

“Our hope is that this takes off and we will soon have an entire classroom full of options for students,” she added.

Eppy’s Attic is located in the high school building and the room is being designed as an actual boutique by a group of students in Abi Miller’s interior design class.

Randolph said the idea of decorating the room is to allow for a better shopping experience.

“I want them to enjoy the experience of finding a great dress, not feel like they are getting a hand me down,” she said.

East Palestine is not the only district in the area to embark on this particular type of project for its students.

Randolph said a similar boutique is available at the Austintown Fitch High School, where her cousin Donna Burnell works as family and consumer science teacher.

“She has implemented a very successful version and she was able to provide me with some insight on how to start,” Randolph said of Burnell. “I think that overall we (teachers) are seeing a lot of students in need and we want to help in whatever way we can.”

The high school is still collecting donations for the boutique, and is in need of formal and semi-formal dresses, jewelry, men’s dress pants and dress shirts, ties and shoes.

Anything with questions or who would like to set up and appointment can do so by calling the high school office at 330-426-9401 or emailing Randolph at emily.randolph@epschools.k12.oh.us.

Randolph said that once the school has successfully launched the formal and semi-formal line of clothing for both male and female students, the next goal is to incorporate interview clothing for students that are seeking employment.

kwhite@mojonews.com

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