Dressed to impress: students take centre stage

Clothing not-for-profit Thread Together is supporting HSC students on the Northern Rivers ahead of formal season. Kristi Pritchard-Owens reports.

Two women speaking with a student. One of the women is holding a microphone. Two women speaking with a student. One of the women is holding a microphone.
Image: Kadina High school captain Linh Le Do, centre, speaks with ABC Radio about her school formal dress.

Behind the curtains of a high school drama room in Lismore, HSC students prepared for their moment in the spotlight.

But this was no performance exam. Instead, the excited students were trying on their chosen formal outfits for the very first time - using temporary dressing rooms made by hanging reams of black fabric from the stage lighting rig.

For the second year in a row, clothing not-for-profit Thread Together offered Year 12 students at schools in the Northern Rivers free designer outfits to wear to their formals.

“Last year everybody was in major recovery mode from the floods and we wanted to make sure that we added a little bit of joy to the school formal,” board member and former Richmond River High student Adam Worling said.

“This year we left it up to the principals to decide with their students who needed the service.

“We ended up with 91 students, but if it had been 191, we would have done 191.”

Students from all three The Rivers Secondary College campuses - Kadina High, Richmond River High and Lismore High - were given the option to select an outfit from providers like Bec + Bridge, Tarocash, M J Bale, R.M. Williams, Pink Ink, and Wittner.

Thread Together then transported the formal wear to Lismore High Campus, where a five-hour style session saw students rotate through the door, with everything from accessories to socks provided to create the perfect, individual look.

Modelling a bright pink satin ankle-length dress, Linh Le Do was among those to take advantage of the opportunity.

“I just really wanted a nice dress to wear to formal and have a good time, but I didn't want to spend my life savings on it,” the Kadina High school captain said.

The Rivers Secondary College Executive Principal, Chris Randle, was on also hand at the fitting day, proudly helping many of the male students with that tricky sartorial skill, tying a tie.

He said the donation of clothing, shoes and accessories provided some much-needed normality for the college’s Class of 2023.

“It allows our young people to transition from school life as a young adult, and they can celebrate it like everybody else in the state,” Mr Randle said.

Students at Casino and Ballina Coast high schools, as well as Evans River Community School and Nimbin Central School, also received outfits from the organisation.

A man helps a boy with a tie. A man helps a boy with a tie.
Image: The Rivers Secondary College Executive Principal, Chris Randle, helps a student adjust his tie.
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