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September 30, 2023

“Brenda’s Closet” provides prom dresses for all

The average American family spends an estimated $1,078 each on prom, up 33 percent from 2011’s average of $807, according a survey conducted by Visa. 

It’s no doubt prom is pretty costly, and not everyone can afford to send their child to what can be deemed an American tradition.  

Former Sobrato High School student Brenda Martinez, wants to make sure Sobrato and Live Oak high school students don’t miss the opportunity. 

“I was only able to go to one of my dances, I couldn’t afford my junior or senior prom,” said Martinez, who graduated in 2008. “I didn’t want girls to regret not being able to go.” 

Martinez herself used the “Princess Project” for a school dance when she was at Sobrato. The organization gives free prom dresses and accessories to high school girls who otherwise cannot afford them. 

Sue Baynes, Sobrato’s ASB bookkeeper, said the school was supposed to conduct the Princess Project for students, but missed the deadline. 

“And Brenda said, you know what, I still want to do it,” she said. 

Hoping to do the same for Morgan Hill students, Martinez started “Brenda’s Closet,” asking for donations throughout the community of gently used or new prom dresses for students that may not be able to afford one. 

With Sobrato’s ‘Moulin Rogue’ themed prom this Saturday, Martinez scrambled to get dresses donated just two weeks before. Because of the short notice, no girls stepped forward to snag the dresses. Martinez, a professional make-up beautician, will also be doing the makeup of up for four girls Saturday morning for prom, and her friend Jessica Fernandez will do their hair. 

Sobrato senior Melissa FawcettRouth, 17, signed up for Martinez’ makeup for Saturday and already has a dress. 

“The options was there,” she said of her hair/makeup being done. “And I didn’t go to junior prom.” 

FawcettRouth will be going with friends to prom including Anna Arnett, 18, also a senior.

“Yeah, I’m excited,” said Arnett. 

Prom tickets run at $85 per person and does not include dinner and will be held at the Fairmount Hotel in San Jose this year. 

Martinez is still accepting prom dress donations since Live Oak’s prom which will be May 5. Interested students can contact Martinez directly at [email protected]. She said the dresses will also be available for students for graduation, or future dances next school year. Donations can be dropped off at the Sobrato High School front office

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