Making upcoming prom affordable, dress-wise, is led by FHS junior

Prom is a huge milestone for many teens, but one Farragut High School student is helping make sure one aspect won’t break the bank.

Ananya Suresh, who is a junior and the daughter of Suresh Palaniappan and Devisri Suresh, said she and some friends were looking at prom dresses a few months ago. She realized the prices were higher than some could pay.

“They were anywhere between $300 and $500, and I felt like most of us are very blessed to be able to afford a dress like that — but not everyone can,” Suresh recalled.

With input from Girl Up, a high school club she leads as president, it was decided to request gently-used prom dresses, which are being donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley.

“Girl Up is fairly new at FHS,” Suresh said of the United Nations Foundation initiative, which helps empower women all over the world. “Last year we focused on providing sanitary products, and this year we decided to help with prom dress donations.

“We kind of got a late start on collecting them, but right now we have six, with several more promised from those who wanted to donate after Easter,” she added.

Her connection to the Boys and Girls Clubs started two years ago, when Suresh volunteered to help take care of students in one of its summer programs.

“I love kids and I love working with them, and plan to do it again this summer,” she said.

Based on her previous relationship with the organization, “We called them, and they really wanted the dresses, so it was perfect,” Suresh said.

The FHS junior posted about her donation drive on Facebook and Instagram, and her mother shared it on her own Facebook page, as well, to help get the word out.

The donation box Suresh set up at FHS “was overflowing” with the donations. She took the dresses home as she prepared to take them to the Boys and Girls Club sometime this week.

“We did have a box, but it turned out to be too small,” Suresh said. “It was so kind for everyone who has donated the dresses. It has been very sweet.”

Energized with the response, Suresh said her plan is to “start earlier next year” on what she hopes will become an ongoing project.

“It was kind of a new idea for this year, but I hope to start maybe in August, with Admiral’s Launch, and go through next March to work on getting more donations,” she added.

Anyone wishing to donate dresses this year may bring them to the FHS front office, 11237 Kingston Pike.