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February 10, 2010 > Logan Kicks off 'Princess Project' (for Princes, too)

Logan Kicks off 'Princess Project' (for Princes, too)

By Suzanne Ortt
Photos By courtesy of Tina Bobadilla-Mastel

Senior year of high school means excitement and stress, fun and high finance. The Princess Club's goal is to make the Senior Ball fun for all. Through the Princess (and Prince) Project, students are collecting formal and semi-formal wear for young women and men who cannot afford such attire.

Newly organized at James Logan High School, the Princess Club aims to defray the high cost of senior activities and essentials. It is based on successful Princess Projects throughout the San Francisco Bay Area although Logan plans to expand beyond a clothing collection; this Princess Club, working with Student Government, hopes to offer special prices for senior wares. Future plans include collecting caps and gowns at the end of the year.

Teresa Jong, a 12th grader, explains that senior year is when the greatest memories of high school are made. "Due to the economic downturn, there are many students who cannot afford to experience all of their senior activities. It is a shame that deserving students are not able to experience the greatest memories of their adolescence. The Princess Club is going to make these experiences a reality for these students and it's a great opportunity for students to give back to their fellow peers," says Jong.

"This project helps students fulfill dreams of going to their prom," adds Emerita Alvarado. "It is unfortunate that some of them cannot go because the prom requires too much money. The Princess and Prince Project is a club to help those not only to go to the prom, but to achieve a dream."

Unfortunately senior activities, such as Grad Nite, the prom, and the resultant memories are out of reach for many seniors.

Paola Lizaola, a 12th grader and one of the founders of the club, contributes her sentiment. "Our club members are working together to help our generation and future ones. Right now, we are collecting gowns and menswear; later this year we would like to present a fashion show to give students a preview of what is available. We are very thankful for all our teachers, adults, and students who are helping with this club," says Lizaola. "Some of us are the first in our families to graduate from high school, so that is why it is so important to us."

Club officers and members of the teaching staff, including Stephanie Papas, club advisor, and Tina Bobadilla-Mastel, co-advisor, are busy collecting donations and promoting the cause. Bobadilla-Mastel asks ladies to dig out all those bridesmaid dresses and men to gather up neckties, vests, and jackets and donate them. Clothing needs to be gently used, clean, and in good condition. All styles, colors, and sizes are welcome.

Community support is increasing. Paddy's Coffee House is participating, as are Bella Piaz and Inspire Fitness Boot Camp. In addition to being a drop off site, Bella Piaz will offer a spa day for 8 - 10 students. 1st United Services Credit Union will be collecting items from their employees for the Project's clothing drive. Greg Pulliam, Chief Administrative Officer, states, "1st USCU appreciates the opportunity to help the students of James Logan High School. Community service is one of our company's goals."

Bobadilla-Mastel summarizes what is happening. "This project is a testament to the spirit of Union City's community. Offers of custom made jewelry, monetary donations, and even a yoga session for some of the students have been flowing in. And it is a lesson to our youth organizers. They perceived a problem - the unattainability of senior activities to underprivileged students- and rather than settling into frustration, they are taking action," says Bobadilla-Mastel. "The fact that members of the community are coming out to support them shows them that as young people, they can move things; they can initiate change and make things happen. That's powerful."

Donations are being accepted through the month of February.

Drop-off spots:
Front office at Logan High School, 1800 H Street, Union City
Paddy's Coffee House, 3900 Smith Street, Union City
Bella Piaz Salon, 3726 Castro Valley Boulevard, Castro Valley
Inspire Fitness Boot Camp, 18988 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley

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