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Alumna Organizes Formal Dress Collection for Middle School Girls

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Posted on Friday, April 7, 2017

Westminster College alumna Abby Buckholt ’14 organized a formal dress collection for 7th and 8th grade girls at Selma Middle School in Selma, North Carolina. Abby is currently a special education teacher at Selma Middle School.

“We hadn't been able to have a school dance here in several years for behavioral reasons that pertained to the whole school,” said Abby. “Our 8th graders at the time (from 2 years ago, May 2015) wrote a proposal to our principal at the time about the ideas they had and why they felt they should be able to have a school dance.”

After reviewing the proposal, the school administration granted the students’ request and plans for a dance began.

After several conversations with the 7th and 8th grade girls, Abby noticed both their excitement to attend the dance and their concerns about whether their families could afford to purchase a dress. Selma Middle School is located in a low-socioeconomic area of Selma. For many of the students, this dress collection may be the only way that they can obtain a formal dress for the dance.

“Many had gone home and talked with their parents/guardians and the girls were told that they couldn't afford to purchase a dress, so right then and there I told myself I was going to do whatever it took to make sure that the girls could still attend the dance no matter what and looking as pretty as ever,” added Abby.

Abby started reaching out to friends and colleagues in North Carolina, at Westminster College and back home to her high school religion teacher, Mrs. Kathy Wray at Seton- La Salle Catholic High School. She also had family and friends share a poster she created on Facebook to help drive donations and give her students an opportunity to shine along with their middle school classmates. 

This is Abby’s third year collecting dresses for students in need of formal gowns for the school dance, and she plans to continue the collection for as long as she can. To become a part of the formal dress collection, contact Abby Buckholt at

For more information, contact Tom Fields at or 724-946-7190.