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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For some high school seniors there is nothing like the excitement of shopping for the prom.

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From February until June a Prom Boutique is open at Lindsey Hopkins Technical College, where deserving students from Miami-Dade County Schools and Project Start Up can shop for all things prom with no worries.

“All of the kids that come through here are Miami-Dade County Public School students that are either experiencing homelessness or living in a moment of economic crisis. Many need the prom wear as well as their prom ticket, grad bash ticket, and senior breakfast,“ said Diane Venturini, Director of Fund and Resource Development for Miami-Dade Public Schools.


On Friday, seniors from Miami Jackson Senior High School tried on the finest in formal wear which was donated by a number of organizations including Becca’s Closet, Macy’s, and Men’s Warehouse. There are more than $400-thousand in dresses alone, most still have the price tags on, along with accessories, make-up, and shoes – some of which were private donations.

Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said for these students it’s all about feeling like everyone else.

“These are some of neediest kids, the most fragile young men and women. But put a shiny suit on them, a beautiful dress, the right shoes and makeup, give them words of confidence and reassure them, and they are born again,” said Carvalho.

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The superintendent worked hands on with some of the boys to get the right suit. He picked out this suit and vest combination for Charles Smith, a senior at Miami Jackson.

CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo asked him what it was like to have the school superintendent dress him.

“It was pretty awesome and we didn’t stop until we found the right one,” said Smith.

For the young ladies, it was beyond meaningful.

“It means everything. I’m so grateful for all of this. I was kind of getting worried because my mom was like ‘I can’t get a dress because it’s too expensive’. I thought I was going to get a plain dress but I’m just happy I found this dress. I’m so grateful,” said senior Alondra Parra.

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“It means everything. Now I can save some money. I got this dress and it’s beautiful,” said fellow senior Estaline Denoe.

Lisa Petrillo