Prom on a budget

The dress, the shoes, the flowers and the dinner — those items can add up to a costly prom night for area students.

But students and their parents don't have to spend a lot of money to ensure a fun, safe and memorable prom night. Area organizations are working to provide clothes and services to prom-going students at little or no cost.

Hickory High School's prom closet

Students at Hickory High School will have the option to get free evening wear for their prom night through the school's sixth annual prom closet.

The closet contains new and gently used donated dresses for girls with varying tastes in cut, color and style.

"Last year was amazing with the amount of girls who came in," said Helen Devlin, HHS prom closet coordinator. "And I think this year, it's going to be just as big."

With a tough economy, Devlin said more students are looking to save money during prom season, and the free selection at the HHS prom closet is the way to do it.

The closet, however, can't continue without the support of donations from generous community members.

"We hope to receive donations of at least 20 formal dresses — but actually that's never enough," Devlin said. "All dresses are needed, for the very petite to the full-figured, from the very short to the very tall."

Jewelry and other accessories, such as shawls, handbags and shoes, are also needed. The closet also offers clothing for HHS boys. Tuxedo jackets are available for rent, and boys can purchase a low-cost white tuxedo shirt at area craft stores, Devlin said.

HHS students have two chances to browse the prom closet after school March 16 and 23. The school will have changing areas for girls to try on the dresses.

"I even encourage them to bring their moms," Devlin said.

Professional Dry Cleaners of Hickory offered to dry clean dresses as needed.

Hickory High's prom is set for April 2 at Lake Hickory Country Club.

For more information about the prom closet or to donate, contact Devlin at (828) 322-5860 ext. 1116.

Donations can be made Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. until March 15.

Catawba Valley Community College's Cosmetology School

Many girls choose to have their hair and make-up done before their big prom night. Catawba Valley Community College's Cosmetology School in Newton offers reduced-price services by trained cosmetology students.

CVCC officials said the salon is meant to train students, so they can develop skills and learn experience in their crafts. And practicing those services on the public is a great way to learn.

The school offers facial, manicures, pedicures, hair up-dos, as well as hair cuts, all at reduced prices.

For more information about CVCC's cosmetology school and its services, contact the school at (828) 324-7320.

Rising Hope Farms prom pictures

Everyone wants to capture their prom memories on film, and Rising Hope Farms in Claremont offers teens a way to do that while contributing to a good cause.

Gail Wartner, Rising Hope Farms owner, offers prom, wedding and other special event photos at her scenic farm off Bethany Church Road.

For $50, prom-goers can schedule a photo shoot at the farm, which includes its barn, pond, horse and carriage and rolling hills. All proceeds from the photo shoot go back to Rising Hope Farms to ensure its therapeutic horse programs continue.

"It really gives (students) the options about what they want as far as backdrops go," Wartner said.

For an additional $50 donation, Rising Hope Farms will provide a professional photographer to take the photographs. That money will also be donated to Rising Hope Farms.

"We had some of our volunteers who always came out here to get their pictures taken on prom night," Wartner said. "The volunteers really came up with the idea."

Rising Hope Farms provides therapeutic riding, hippotherapy and other services for people struggling with disabilities over coming traumatic events.

For more information about Rising Hope Farms and its prom photos, contact Wartner at (828) 638-0879.