Helping make prom, graduation dreams come true

Students from Bur Oak Secondary School and Maple High School are playing the roles of fairy godmothers and waving their magic wands to ensure Grades 8 and 12 students have something special to wear for prom or graduation.

‘Bur Oak’s Closet’ and ‘Maple’s Closet’ provide a graduation dress, suit and/or accessories to every York Region student in need. Students attending Bur Oak’s Closet in April received a loot bag with a hair appliance, hair products and skin products donated by local shops and vendors. This year, it gave out 107 dresses and, when available, shoes and jewellery.

“We have been overwhelmed by the number of donations we have received from our community,” says teacher Laurel Dodham. “We have a team of Bur Oak fashion associates managing the Bur Oak Closet like a boutique. It has been great, as they’ve made sure all the dresses are functional, clean and appropriate. They’ve also sized, sorted and hung the garments on racks.”

At Maple H.S., more than 50 students attended the launch of Maple’s Closet in April. Graduation and prom outfits are available through the end of May. Maple’s Closet also offers courses and activities on etiquette, make-up application, jewellery making and hairstyling.

The program is supported by the entire school, with Intensive Program teachers and students managing donations and gifts and organizing activities. Aesthetics students offer hairstyling and make-up application. Technology classes built temporary change rooms, yearbook and photography students take pictures and run the photo booth, and the student council helps manage the day. Trustees and community volunteers support with event set-up and sorting donations.

Maple H.S. received many donations but still needs shoes, shirts, dress pants, suits in smaller sizes, wristlets, belts and ties. Maple’s Closet serves schools in the west of York Region and Bur Oak’s Closet serves schools in the east. More than 500 students have benefitted from this program to date. Contact Bur Oak S.S. at 905-202-1234, 647-795-7657 or Contact Maple H.S. at 905-417-9444, 647-795-7621 or

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