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Native Sun News Today: Chickasaw citizen donates prom dresses to Pine Ridge youth

Shelly Wall. Courtesy photo

Prom dresses donated to Pine Ridge High School
Chickasaw tribal member behind effort
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Today Correspondent

PINE RIDGE — Cinderella was a scullery maid who relied on the magic of a fairy godmother to attend the Prince’s ball. Every spring teenage girls at Pine Ridge high school get asked to their senior prom, and prom dresses are expensive, but there is no fairy godmother to come to their rescue.

Until now.

Shelly Wall was a former Chickasaw Nation Princess, and she competed in the Miss Indian World competition, and she is the closest thing 14 girls from Pine Ridge High School will ever have to a fairy godmother. Last week, Wall drove over 800 miles north from her home in Purcell, Oklahoma, to deliver 14 prom dresses.

“My mom worked at (Pine Ridge High School) for several years, and she still has friends there,” Wall said. “When I was 17, one of my grammas gave me $100 and told me she had saved that money since I was a little girl because she knew I would want to go to prom.”

Wall is currently a student at Oklahoma City University: “I am a business major studying marketing.” And she is an honor roll student.

Getting the idea to donate prom dresses to girls at Pine Ridge High School was one thing, but then Wall had to procure the dresses. The first dress was easy, it was one of the dresses she had worn in the Miss Indian World competition.

“Some of the dresses had to be cleaned and pressed,” Wall said. “Some people just wanted to give money and we bought dresses. The ideal would be to get 50 dresses, because there would be all this variety, but that really does take some commitment and time to do that.”

Once she had the dresses, Wall had to drive for 14 hours to reach Pine Ridge: “I just took them to the school, to Carmen Lloyd’s classroom.”

Carmen Lloyd teaches English 12 at Pine Ridge High School. “We appreciate her taking that long drive up.” Lloyd said. “It was such a blessing. This is something that has been close to my heart. It’s a threshold in their lives, you know, prom, graduation, getting married…”

“I’m happy I could help a little bit,” Wall said. “If it makes a difference for a girl and creates good memories, I’m very happy I could be part of that. I guess in past years they had a Cinderella Project. They set it up like a boutique, where people could come in and pick out their dresses. I do look forward to being able to donate more time and make it better, include more people in the future.”

It took quite an effort to devote this much time, given Wall is a full time student and works two jobs. Fortunately for her, she is in a tribal program that placed second in Harvard’s Honoring Nation’s competition in 2016: “I am in a tribal program called School-to-Work. I worked for about eight years in tribal gaming. There’s a program that focuses on nontraditional students. While you are a full-time student they place you in a tribal business or something related to that. I work at Newcastle Casino in marketing.”

Lloyd says students will be able to pick out a prom dress from Wall’s donation after spring break.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Prom dresses donated to Pine Ridge High School

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