Charter school hosts “Prom Shop” for its students in foster care

    Arise Academy Charter High School is unique. Billed as the first charter school in the country designed specifically to serve students in foster care, the Center City school is a small one with a career development focus.

    But like in any other high school, the students are eager to go to the prom.

    “Everything is donated by an outside company,” Board of Trustees President Jill Welsh-Davis told NewsWorks about the school’s “Prom Shop.” Of the school’s approximately 160 students, about 70 are heading to the prom — held this year at the African American Museum of Philadelphia — and the preceding red carpet event.

    Businesses like David’s Bridal, Men’s Wearhouse and Neiman Marcus have donated dresses, tuxes and more to the Prom Shop, and students can spend today browsing styles and getting fitted without having to worry about the costs associated with the prom. Afterthoughts like flowers and limo services are also available.

    “We feel very strongly about giving back to the community,” said Stephanie Skordas of Men’s Wearhouse. “This is just one way we can do that.”

    This is Arise’s second annual Prom Shop, organized with help from Wendy Stuppe, a community volunteer; and Judy Rappaport, an Arise Academy board member; whom Welsh-Davis said have worked tirelessly to give the Arise students a prom they otherwise couldn’t afford.

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