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M-A’s annual Fashion Show is a large feat, involving months of planning, headed by members of the PTA and carried out by parent volunteers. It serves a double purpose as both a fundraiser for the PTA and as a bonding experience for seniors. This year’s theme, IM-AGINE, captures the energy and excitement surrounding the event, and reflects the creativity and ingenuity of those involved. Planning involves both creative and logistic components, beginning about six to seven months before the show itself. Parents are charged with the tasks of set design, lighting design, sound design, and creating the theme, as well as the more logistic duties of scheduling, marketing, and determining the order and layout of the show. The parents that head the project go to multiple meetings a week and frequently update students on the progress of the event through Facebook and other social media.Last year, the event raised approximately $70,000 for the PTA, making it the largest fundraiser of the year at M-A, and involved about 200 parent volunteers.
Jill Smith, co-head of the four person committee that makes executive decisions regarding the show, is excited to be a part of such a big event for the last time. She is glad she took the “opportunity to try new things out,” but is “ready to pass the torch.”
Students, past and present, also take roles in the planning process, part of the reason Smith has continued to be involved. This year, the members of the video production class helped to create a video track for the show, and M-A alumnus Eisa Evans put together a CD of the music.
In addition, the event has long been an essential part of the senior experience at M-A, and continues to be a tradition kept alive by stories from past participants.
The recent move from the New Gym to the PAC has turned it into “more of a stage production than just a fashion show,” according to Smith. While she also admits that the move has contributed to a slight decline in popularity due to the loss of the personal aspect that the smaller facility provided, it has allowed the creative team to explore more options, especially because the necessity to hire an outside production company to set up the stage has disappeared.
This new creative freedom has also opened the door for Charleston Pierce, the choreographer and model coach hired by the PTA to work with the students. Smith praises his ability to “[get] the kids to interact with each other and [have] the confidence to make the show a success,” something that comes across in his upbeat attitude at rehearsals.
In his second year of being a consultant, Pierce says that the overall experience last year was “very rewarding,” especially because he managed to help the students “embrace their star power.”
Pierce’s assistant, Hannah Rose, agrees that it was rewarding to see “everyone shining, and having so much fun.”
While it may be the PTA’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the fashion show is ultimately about the students. For Smith, seeing their positive facebook posts after it is over and realizing how “they’re all so appreciative,” is the best part. “All the hard work we put into it… it makes it so worthwhile.”
This year’s fashion show will be held on Saturday, February 23rd at 1:00 pm, 4:00 pm, and 7:00 pm in the M-A PAC. For more information, visit the PTA website here.