Lakeside student's prom dress drive 'a blessing'

160 teenagers pick up free outfit

 A prom dress couldn't come any cheaper for Steffanie Harris. The Harlem High School senior walked away Saturday with the perfect dress free of charge, thanks to another student's senior project.

"It's a single mom's lifesaver," said Shelly Harris, Steffanie's mother. "It's just such a relief, and my baby looks beautiful in her dress."

Brianna Murphy, a senior at Lakeside High School, said she didn't know what to expect when she decided to collect formal dresses, shoes and accessories to give away as part of her senior project.

On Saturday, she invited area high school girls to browse through 599 dresses, more than 70 pairs of shoes and an array of jewelry and purses.

A bridal company and dress shop provided about 70 dresses, but the rest were donated by the community.

"For a while I was picking up 50 to 75 dresses from (Tudor's) Dry Cleaners," Murphy said.

Carloads of teenage girls, with their mothers in tow, arrived at Crossbridge Baptist Church as early as 10 a.m. to oooh and ahhh over the selections.

Overall, 160 girls came by throughout the day.

Lynnice Beard, a Lincoln County High School senior, called it "a blessing" and walked away with an orange dress and matching shoes.

"My main goal in all of this is to get these dresses out and let the girls have their special night and the confidence that every girl should be able to enjoy," Murphy said.

With college around the corner, Murphy doesn't know what the future holds for the project, but she said she hopes to make it a recurring event.