PEMBROKE, N.Y. (WIVB) — A family and consumer science teacher at Pembroke High School launched a project to help all senior girls in the district attend prom without breaking the bank.

In just two weeks Marie Becker collected dozens of gently used prom dresses for senior girls in the district to choose from.

She said she was going through her closet recently and found so many dresses she didn’t need anymore but thought her students might like.

The collection has everything from staff member’s daughter’s old prom dresses, to old bridesmaid dresses, and even shoes and accessories.

The rack will be outside Becker’s classroom for girls to grab dresses to try on in the locker room across the hall.

If a dress doesn’t fit, Becker can alter it right in her classroom using sewing equipment.

To encourage girls to try them on and eliminate the stigma of the dresses being used, every girl that tries on a dress will be entered into a raffle to win a gift card.

Becker said she likes to see her students happy, help them save money, and still feel beautiful at prom.

“You wanna feel pretty, you wanna be able to get a dress that you want that maybe you couldn’t afford or even if you could afford it, why waste your money on something you’re gonna wear once? The gas prices are insane these girls have to drive places, they’re gonna go to college, they’re buying books, why waste the money on that when you could get a dress that was worn once for a couple hours,” Becker said.

She plans to open the collection up to dresses for graduation, senior banquet, and next year’s winter ball.

In future years, she might make it into an exchange program where the girls could borrow the dresses and bring them back for future seniors to wear on their special night.

“The seventh and eighth graders light up when they see the dresses and they’ve already been talking about, ‘why would I get a dress when I could just get my dress here,’ and I’m hoping that stays with them.”

Anyone with dresses to donate can drop them off at any of the three schools in the Pembroke district.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.