A team of students and staff at G.P. Vanier Secondary School have picked up the torch to continue an important donation project to outfit graduates in style.

It’s called the Cinderella/Prince Charming Project.

It makes sure every graduating student in the district has access to suits, dresses and tuxes to make sure their graduation ceremony is stylish, memorable and affordable.

SD71 says the project aims to tackle the stigma attached to underprivileged students by giving everyone the opportunity to wear a gown or suit on graduation day.

Vanier vice principal, Lee McKillican, was approached by a volunteer community-based organization asking if the school would like several grad items, most of which were acquired from store owners of Carousel Consignment upon closing its Courtenay business.

After getting totes and bins full of gowns, shoes, suits, ties, and accessories, McKillican asked a team of staff if they would like to take on the project and have it ready for the Class of 2021.

Kelley Giorgianni and Susan Quinton accepted to lead the project with the help of other teachers and students. 

Giorgianni says in order to get everything ready for April, they need some help from the valley.

“Now it is a matter of preparing the gowns and suits by steaming them or dry clean where needed to have ready for when the students can come and select an outfit.”

“Any help we can get is so appreciated. We could use another clothing steamer or two, more volunteer hours, and many more hangers and garment racks to be completely ready after Spring Break.”

The school will also accept any grad clothing and accessories, particularly clean shirts for men. Financial donations are also accepted to help offset costs to dry clean everything.

Giorgianni stresses that the project is not about who can or cannot afford an outfit or where they may have acquired the dress.

“Anyone who wants to pick out a gown or a suit can and will be given the choice to keep it or return it. Everyone deserves to feel the magic of this special day and we want to make that happen for all our graduates.”

Although COVID has changed the scope in which graduation ceremonies are held, graduates are still participating in a unique physical-distancing ceremony, as was experienced in June 2020, using outdoor settings complete with car parades and drive-by diploma pick-ups.

To donate or to volunteer, contact G.P. Vanier Secondary office 250-338-9262 or 250-338-2110.

You can also send an email to kelley.giorgianni@sd71.bc.ca.