Published: July 5, 2017
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
Students at Eenchokay Birchstick School (EBS) had a helping hand from the Red Lake District in getting ready for a semi-formal dance last week.
On June 27 the Pikangikum school hosted its first Prom event. More than 100 students attended the evening dance that celebrated the end of the school year and the 2017 graduating class.
However, with one hairdresser in town and no dress shops, getting ready for the event was going to be a challenge for many students. Looking south for support and supplies, teachers and community members started working their contacts and the results were plentiful.
“I still have good relationships with some of my old clients [in Pikangikum] and was talking to one of them about attending prom,” said Tikinagan worker Jamie Jobson. “It broke my heart when she said she didn’t want to go because she had nothing to wear.”
Jobson noted last week she put a call-out on her Facebook page and says she was able to collect a number of dresses, men’s wear and accessories from local residents to add to those being sent to the community from Fort Frances, Kenora and Sioux Lookout.
Vice-Principal Kory Parker Rowell says with donations received from across northwestern Ontario, including Red Lake, two classrooms were filled with selections for students while a third became an impromptu hair salon.
Bellezza Hair and Esthetics owner Erica Litwin says she was having dinner with some family friends earlier this month when the idea of helping out the students came up.
“Margaret (Lawson) was over at my mom and dad’s and she asked me for a prom dress and that is how it started,” noted Litwin who closed down the local studio last Tuesday and traveled to the community with her team.
“I said that I would go up and help the other hairdresser if it was a go. It turned from five to ten people and then it turned to 15 and I asked Alysha and then it went to 17 and I asked Cherry and then it was +20 so I brought Kaeylen.”
The Bellezza team spent the day doing hair, make-up and picking out dresses with around 30 students many of which Litwin says were shy but who quickly warmed up to crew as the day progressed.
Rowell noted last week the donations of dresses and services were greatly appreciated by staff and students and he hoped the sharing of resources helps open the door to other partnerships including hockey games in Pikangikum between the EBS Hawks and the Red Lake RAMS.
“As well, next year EBS will be focusing on other sports that align with the NorWOSSA season and hope to host exhibition games with RLHS and other schools,” he added.