26 October 2023

Cape school receives formal wear donations from across the country for the class of '23

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Two students in Western Cape College uniforms are standing behind a table that is has multiple parcels piled on top.

Western Cape College students received donations from across the country to dress up for their school formal.

Donations have flooded in to Western Cape College after a call for evening wear to use at the school formal blew up on social media.

What started as a simple email to the school’s teaching staff requesting dresses, suits, shoes and jewellery ended up reaching businesses and kind strangers across the country from Byron Bay, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide.

“One of our amazing art teachers, Nicola Campbell, sent a message to an Instagram account called Dreamtime Aroha,” Western Cape College head of department for retention Sarah Tonon said.

She explained that Dreamtime Aroha is a proudly Aboriginal-owned business that crafts handmade Jarjum dollies and Aboriginal Art, with 62,000 followers on Instagram.

Ms Campbell wasn’t expecting a response, but got one immediately asking for details on what was needed for the formal.

“Dreamtime Aroha popped up a post on their socials and within hours there were hundreds of comments with offers of donations and over 1200 shares,” Ms Tonon said.

The first lot of donations including earrings, make-up, shoes, heels, dresses, perfumes and clutches arrived last Friday (October 20).

“We received over 30 parcels,” she said.

“Students were elated when opening up the parcels and starting the process of cataloguing and then of course trying on.”

She explained that the support shown for this year’s graduating class “has been a great conversation starter of how social media can be used for positivity”.

“They are blown away by the kindness and generosity of complete strangers,” she said.

The donated items are available not just to graduating students, but any members of the community attending the formal.

“We would love something that mums and grandmas can wear along with formal dresses, men’s shirts, suits, jackets, socks, shoes, brand new makeup and hygiene products,” she said.

Sarah Tonon, a woman with blonde hair wearing a black sundress and sunglasses, is standing in between two students wearing graduation caps and gowns.

Sarah Tonon has seen off several graduating classes in her seven years at the school.

With the number of donations on the way, the school will have a surplus to their needs this year, but none of it will go unused.

This year, there are 59 year 12 graduates, but next year, there will be more than 95 students graduating from the school.

“Our donations will be utilised for years to come!”

Western Cape College is also looking to share what they receive with any other Cape schools needing formal wear, and will be setting up a formal store out of Napranum in the coming weeks.

Donations can be made to the Western Cape College Secondary office.

The formal will be held on Wednesday, 15 November, at the Albatross Bay Resort.

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