, Newburyport, MA

October 9, 2013

A night for Cinderella

Dress drive gives families a new way to choose an outfit for Pumpkin Ball

By Katie Lovett
City Editor

---- — It’s almost time for the annual Pumpkin Ball at Pine Grove School, and lots of the girls are getting excited as they eagerly pick out their party dresses to wear to the dance.

But this year, even more of the girls from pre-K to grade 6 are happily preparing for a night of glamor and fun with a special adult in their lives, thanks to the efforts of the Student Council.

Sixth-grader Julia Watson was brainstorming activities and programs for this school year with faculty advisor Nicole LaPerriere, when inspiration struck as the conversation turned to the fall dance.

Why not run a “Cinderella’s Closet” — a drive where families can donate gently used dresses, shoes and accessories and then hold a session for interested parents to come and pick out their daughter’s outfit for the night. The mission is to provide families with a chance to keep costs down, while also giving an opportunity to those who may not otherwise be able to afford a new dress for the evening.

“The idea was, every single little girl deserves to look like Cinderella when they go the Pumpkin Ball,” LaPerriere said yesterday.

Over the last few weeks, the Student Council has been collecting donations, and over the next week leading up to the dance on Oct. 18, parents and daughters can visit LaPerriere’s classroom at certain times to select a dress and accessories.

The goal is that girls can wear the outfit for the dance, but also during the upcoming holiday season, LaPerriere said.

As of yesterday morning, more than 100 dresses in various sizes had been collected and they are still being accepted, she added. Student Council members have been visiting classrooms and promoting the event. There was even one day when the kids displayed all of the dresses in the school’s front hallway to pique interest.

Some parents have asked if they donate a dress, can they swap it for another that has caught their daughter’s eye, LaPerriere said.

Julia and several friends have spent several recesses working on the drive and preparing the dresses for “Cinderella’s Closet.”

“Sometimes, some girls don’t really get an opportunity to have a really good, pretty dress,” Julia said yesterday. “So I decided maybe we should make a little boutique of free dresses and stuff for kids whose moms don’t really have time to shop, or the money.”

For more information or to donate a dress, email LaPerriere at All remaining dresses will be donated to charity following The Pumpkin Ball.