22 March, 2023
With over 1,000 high schoolers benefiting and even more dresses given out, Becca’s Closet had yet another successful dress boutique.
On March 11, 2023, Becca’s Closet held their annual Pretty and Polished Boutique here at Atholton High School. There were dresses, accessories, and basic onsite alterations, all free of charge.
Becca’s Closet began in 2003, when 16 year old Rebecca Kirtman passed away in a tragic car accident. During Rebecca’s freshman year of high school, she led a dress drive to offer prom dresses and accessories to girls who couldn’t afford to purchase them on their own. Becca herself collected and donated over 250 dresses to girls in Davie, Florida. Becca’s Closet was then created to honor Becca and continue her kindness and love that she had for the community.
Here at Atholton, Becca’s Closet is run by a strong team: Ms. Bopst, Atholton’s Career Research & Development teacher, President Olivia Elliott, Vice President Naomi McKenna, and Secretary Ava Alvarez. As President, Elliott shares that she “coordinates our donations, plans for the event, and coordinates with Ms. Bopst to get all the little details sorted out.” She was significantly involved last year and “stepped up to do all the work,” but was given the official role of President for this school year.
Naomi McKenna, vice president of Becca’s Closet shared that she “designs the flier [and] helped organize the event a lot last year and [is] doing that again this year.” She also expressed that “especially advertising takes a really long time and a lot of effort,” and “it’s hard to get the word out.” As a club, they have hung up many fliers around the school, to ensure that all students are informed about the event.
Ms. Bopst Atholton’s Becca’s Closet advisor, said of her role that she “serves as the liaison between our community partner, Zeta Phi Beta.” The sorority who donates their time and expertise planning and during the event. Ms. Bopst also shared that she has “served in this role for 6 years and has seen Becca’s Closet give away close to 3,000 dresses.”
While Becca’s Closet has active chapters at various high schools across the country, Atholton is the only high school in Maryland that participates. Due to this, Elliott shares that, “people come from all over the state [and] someone even drove from New York.” This great opportunity that enables someone to receive dresses and accessories all for free of charge, is truly an event that is worth the drive.
Donations of dresses and accessories come from large organizations, but a hefty amount also comes from community members. Large organizations that Becca’s Closet receives dresses and accessories from include Macy’s, Three Sisters Boutique, and The Lucky Knot. Although the community never fails to pitch in, the corporate donations allow for a constant supply of dresses. Elliott expressed that, “we constantly get emails from parents who are cleaning out their closets and they find dresses and accessories.” Donating to Becca’s Closet is a win for all–one can give a dress that they love, yet simply won’t wear again to someone who can truly benefit from it.
Although Becca’s Closet never fails to put on a successful event, the abundance of work that is done behind the scenes must be valued. McKenna shared that, “there is a lot of organization and administration to get everything prepared.” She added, “last year, we worked for hours and hours sorting all of the dresses, making sure that we got rid of the ugly ones, [and] sorting them by size.” The work that is completed behind the scenes is done by the executive board, as well as student volunteers.
Last year’s event was the first since the COVID pandemic began. Although COVID was mainly over, certain aspects of the boutique weren’t available. Elliott shared that her and her team will, “bring back a lot of the stuff that we couldn’t have last year.” Thus including, “having alterations, fitting rooms, [and] a bigger variety of sizes to really accommodate everyone.” These additions will hopefully cause an even greater turnout and success for the event.
Ms. Bopst hoped that this year’s boutique will “restore the pre-covid excitement of our dress giveaway and keep expanding how we service the students of Howard County.”