Sheri Samson
From left, organizers Alissy Lister, Seriah Reyes and Amber Gomez are working hard to prepare for their school’s first winter dance.

The Hawthorne Junior High School students are gearing up for their first semi-formal, winter dance entitled, “The Snow Ball”, scheduled for Dec. 15 in the high school gym.

Eighth-grade students Seriah Reyes, Amber Gomez and Alissy Lister sat down to discuss some details for this holiday event, which included obtaining donations toward the food and decorations, using their desired color tones of turquoise, black, and whites plus silver accents.

“This is new for our 64 junior high schoolers,” Student Council Secretary Reyes explained, “but we wanted the chance to dress-up and organize a dance that gives us the chance to celebrate Christmas together, while showing the adults that we can learn to organize and plan things, while acting properly and building up our maturity levels.”

One positive aspect of this endeavor was “The Cool Closet” being developed. This involves the donation of gently-used, semi-formal wear of prom dresses to young men’s suit jackets. School counselors, Kathy Trujillo and John Gavin, began the encouragement of spreading the word to local community members that the donation of quality dance apparel or funds could be made.

“This is the chance for every teen to have access to a proper outfit for this dance experience. We realize it is a financially tight time for families to fit in added costs, so we are mindful of this while wanting to include the community in this eventful celebration for our students,” Trujillo shared.

The students were glad that the closet allowed for the recycling of quality outfits while creating a fun experience for fellow students, as they will get a chance to shop-the-racks in time for alterations and adjustments to be made. In keeping with the spirit of holiday giving, the students also created a community aspect by having a small admission fee, combined with bringing a canned-good donation, included into their dance entry.

These young ladies explained that this can help families in town, while the small entry fee will help create a fund toward their next event.

The students went on to share, “The Dream Team is a big help to us because it’s a chance for us to work beside adults in an organization that is all about us as kids.”

Reyes went on to explain that her mother, Breanna Hatfield recently took on the President position with other parents that are involved in the group.

The Dream Team had recently evolved from Trujillo’s college project entitled Capstone, which was based upon creating a positive mindset and culture within the overall school organization. Although the project ended, those that participated desired to rename the group and keep it alive by adding in more high school staff members, community leadership, family members of students and volunteers.

“The structure of the Dream Team incorporates the standard leadership roles, with the added component of assigning teens with our leadership roles, which designed a mentoring experience of dedication and role-modeling. Such a positive momentum has taken off, we are seeing students wanting to be service orientated and concentrating on beginning a legacy for others. They are learning to take ownership of things, like planning and desiring the skills of learning how to decorate for an event. These middle-schoolers have great ideas and are anxious to learn the avenues necessary to see it happen,” Trujillo admitted.

Future ideas will include a talent or lip-syncing show; flash mob presentation, how-to events and fundraising opportunities. “We like the adults to help us with our ideas, because we all really want to do good in school and with our lives,” Reyes confirmed.

Donations toward their decorations or for “The Cool Closet” can be made by calling the school at 775-945-3332.