As Eisabell Garcia watched her daughter and fellow Brien McMahon high school seniors get fitted at Connie B's in South Norwalk for the school's upcoming fashion show March 19, she said she was star struck because the girls looked so beautiful.
The moment was filled with joy and excitement, but it's a bittersweet time, as the fashion show reminds everyone that graduation is around the corner. The event is a fundraiser for the seniors' post graduation party.
"I think it will hit me when she's walking down the aisle for graduation," Garcia said of her daughter's graduation.
Right now she is happy to be helping out with the fashion show as a "store mom," bringing the students to the retailers for fittings.
"As parents and caregivers we can make their graduation night a night to remember--not a tragic experience they'll want to forget. Our committee and parent club have motivated our community to coordinate a safe, fun, drug and alcohol-free, teen-focused bash with activities as an alternative substance-free party," she said.
This will be the 16th year BMHS has held a post graduation party to keep kids off the roads for most of graduation night, a time when accidents are likely to happen. The party costs around $19,000. Entertainment and food is provided all night long and prizes are raffled off throughout the evening.
At the fashion show fundraiser, in addition to Connie B's, BMHS seniors will model fashions from J.McLauglin, Vineyard Vines, TJ Maxx, American Apparel, Lax Unlimited, Darien Sports Shop, Sports Authority, Aldwin Soccer, Golfsmith, Utopia, Camillos and J Crew.
Garcia credited BMHS alumna Sandy Destruge with getting the retailers' support.
Destruge, a 2005 graduate of BMHS and recent graduate of Parsons School of Design in NYC, who is now interning as an assistant stylist at Elle magazine, said she was eager to help with the fashion show. As a student at BMHS, she too had participated in the fashion show and post-graduation party.
"I was more than willing to help out [with this year's event] because the event was such a huge part of my life at BMHS....The thing about the fashion show is it builds bonds between the students," said Destruge, who commutes to the city from Norwalk.
"I didn't realize how important building a bond with your peers was until I went to college and saw that there was a lack of community in certain areas in my college. And it's about getting the community aware of what the kids in town are doing, their talents. And it's the whole point of celebrating that point in your life when you're graduating. That's a big deal," she added.
She said she is extremely grateful to everyone whose been involved in the show this year "for taking time and not brushing people off and for understanding how important community events are not only to the kids but to the parents. Above all I am proud of the parents for coming together and collaborating as a team outside of work. People underestimate that but it's really important in our community."
Destruge pointed out that the post-graduation party lived up to her expectations.
"I was fortunate to have a close-knit community of friends from my graduating class. We all went to the party together and everyone afterwards went to the beach and watched the sunrise together. I will never forget that," Destruge said.
"And it was safe. It was something where I could tell my mom, `I'm not coming home until like1 o'clock,' and she could feel that I was safe and I could feel cool. That's definitely a big part of high school, fitting in and feeling like everyone belongs. I think the graduation party does that."
Like Destruge, Garcia's daughter Calyx is happy to get all dressed up and support a great cause while doing it.
She's not thinking about graduation just yet, but said, "What I'll miss most is not seeing my senior peers walking among the halls this coming August," adding that she is savoring her senior year.
"Being the older students has allowed us to be leaders and role models for the underclassmen."
The fashion show begins at 7 p.m. in the Brien McMahon High School Auditorium.
Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults.
Norwalk High School is also hosting a fashion show fundraiser on March 19 to support its post graduation party.
The fashion show will be held in the Norwalk High School cafetaria and starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $5 for students, $12 for adults.