Sinead Cannon, 15, of Oak Lawn, found the perfect dress at Mother McAuley's Mother’s Club Graduation and Prom Dress Resale. (Supplied photos)

Sinead Cannon, 15, of Oak Lawn, found the perfect dress at Mother McAuley's Mother’s Club Graduation and Prom Dress Resale. (Supplied photos)

Mother McAuley gives new life to prom, graduation dresses

By Kelly White

Finding the perfect prom dress can be costly and stressful. The task was made a little easier for students this year thanks to the Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School Mother’s Club’s Graduation and Prom Dress Resale.

The event took place February 18-19 at the high school located at 3737 W. 99th St., Chicago, and was open to both Mother McAuley students and students from neighboring schools.

“The main goal of the event was to provide students with affordable prom and graduation dresses,” Maria Braschi, President of McAuley Mothers Club, said. “It provides sellers an opportunity to find a new home for their previously worn dresses as well as a chance for the current students to shop pressure free for affordable special occasion dresses.”

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Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School Mother’s Club held a Graduation and Prom Dress Resale on February 18 and February 19 at the high school, 3737 W. 99th St., Chicago.

The Mother’s Club has been hosting the event for more than 30 years, according to Mother McAuley staff members. The focus of the club is to provide an opportunity for mothers/guardians of McAuley students to help build cooperation between parents, faculty, and students and to further the interests of Mother McAuley. The club also provides fundraising and volunteer opportunities that benefit the school, students and families of Mother McAuley.

The donated dresses were of a wide range of beautiful styles, colors, and sizes. All dresses were required to be in ‘like-new’ condition and were to be dry-cleaned beforehand. They were also only accepted only without any stains or tears and had to have working zippers and buttons.

“Donations come from various places as we advertise on social media as well as local church bulletins, local high schools as well as the McAuley community which includes current students and alumnae,” Braschi said.

In addition to white formal and more casual dresses, white graduation gloves were also available for purchase for Mother McAuley students.

The high school’s graduation ceremony is quite unique, as every student is dressed in a formal white gown with elbow length white gloves, while carrying a long red stem rose. The tradition of students graduating in long white formal gowns dates back to the very early 1900s.

“This is my fourth year being involved with the dress sale and I am amazed at the quality of the dresses that are included in the event,” Braschi said. “There are always racks and racks of beautiful prom dresses as well as a large selection of the traditional long white gowns to choose from for McAuley’s graduation. The girls have an opportunity to try different styles of dresses on and find their perfect gown with their friends and family. As a parent, this event helps provide an affordable alternative for special occasion dresses shopping.”

Due to COVID, the dress sale was not held in 2021, however, the previous year the school had about 300 dresses for the sale and they had about 400 this year.

Dresses were priced to give families some financial relief. The price was set by the seller, and the seller was able to receive 75% of the sale price, with the school receiving the remaining 25%. Dresses were priced between $25 and $75.The funds raised by the event help offset the price of the coach buses which are provided for the McAuley seniors and their dates for transportation to and from prom.

“This allows sellers to clean out their closets and donate or consign their dresses for the event,” Braschi said. “The event allowed young ladies to come in and try on a variety of dresses in a fun, no pressure atmosphere.”

And students do just that every year, including Oak Lawn’s own, Maeve Cannon.

“I purchased my graduation dress from the dress resale,” Cannon, 18, said. “It was beautiful. I like the resale event because I was able to try on all kinds of dresses without feeling like I was going to be pressured into buying one. I loved my dress, and I loved the fact that I only paid $40 for it.”

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