Collin Smith’s classroom at Mount Vernon High School was temporarily turned into a boutique last week.

Instead of desks and chairs, there were couches and mirrors. Tulle cloth and strings of lights decorated the walls.

Dress SwapAt the ready were about 60 formal evening dresses, just waiting to find a new home with a new student.

“Everybody deserves to be beautiful,” Smith said.

The students in Smith’s leadership class hosted a dress swap Tuesday. Students were able to trade in or get a new dress in time for the annual homecoming dance.

“Homecoming can be expensive,” Mount Vernon High School Principal Rod Merrell said. “If we can share the love, it just takes some of the burden off our families.”

Mount Vernon High School held its first dress swap three years ago, Smith said.

“We want to remove as many barriers as possible that prevent (students) from participating,” he said.

Though the swap is a one-day event, Smith said once word started getting around donations of dresses have poured in year-round.

“They just keep showing up,” Smith said. “I think it tapped into something with people. It makes people feel good to try and bring joy to other people.”

Last year about 35 students participated in the swap, Smith said.

“I consider that a success,” he said. “Maybe that’s 35 kids that wouldn’t have felt good otherwise.”

As Smith’s classroom was being set up for the swap, junior Briseida Cardenas said she didn’t have a dress picked out for Saturday’s homecoming dance, but she did have her eye on a bright coral-colored evening dresses uk hanging from Smith’s wall.

She said she was planning to bring her friends to the swap.

“I feel like the events that happened (a few weeks ago) brought us together,” she said. “And I really hope this dress swap will help bring us together more, because of the past events that hit our school really hard.”

Cardenas, 16, said she used social media to solicit donations from those in her neighborhood and hopefully get more participation from her classmates.

“There’s a lot of students that don’t have the resources,” she said. “This opportunity really expands the horizon for kids to have the opportunity to participate.”

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