So yesterday was the big day when we surprised the lucky young lady at her high school with a prom experience of a lifetime. However, before I reveal to you who this lucky young lady is. Here are some beautiful images taken by Christy Pelland of c.pelland photography of the official "swag bag" filled with all the prizes and an amazing bouquet by Paisley Petals.
Here is a little recap of some of the items that this young lady will receive: a photo shoot by c.pelland photography and hair & makeup by Che’mel Salon as well as a stunning corsage by j.robbins florist on the day of her prom! The official Standout Prom "swag bag" also was filled with gift certificates from Museum Quality Framing, CI Shenanigan's, The Shoe Show, The House of the Potter, and a graduation party designed by TLB Events.
Christy had put the swag bag together with all the wonderful prizes in a market tote by Emilie Sloan, a bag designer here in Seattle. The bag had been donated last minute by Laura Stewart who owns The House of the Potter with her husband, Jay Stewart, in Cannon Beach, Oregon. What a lovely bag!
The event was only promoted for two weeks, but I thought it was also really amazing and magical to see how so many community businesses contributed to this.
.....I also made a custom STANDOUT necklace and a pair of earrings.
The young lady that was chosen as the winner had to write an essay describing why she stands out in her high school. Take a look at the winning essay:
By Claire Tran
I walked into the Rogers High School Performing Arts Center on top of the world. I had just spent three years acting for the wife of the director as her leading actress. While I knew far better experience actors resided at the school already, with seniority, I felt that I had it made. How wrong I was, in the end it was not the elders that I watched, it was my own best friends who had spent the past three years doing the exact same thing same. Sure, I was lucky in that I knew I was good enough to make it into every show, but I braced myself for every cast list. Posting after posting those equal to me and younger were given leads and I was sent to “Villager Number One”. Sure I loved working in every aspect of the theatre, however all actresses dream of that big shining moment. I waited, just like I waited to grow up while watching my older brother and sister. I figured my time would come one day, but had to do something in the meantime.
I used my strengths and confidence to stand out in other areas. Stagecraft was my forte, and with a creative eye and focused determination I perfected my Stage Design abilities. I directed my attention on my school work and received high grades. I worked towards my Associates Degree (which I will be receiving in June) and completed my Teaching English as a Second Language certification. I worked as a Retail Manager and kept busy while trying to make something of myself. As the casting began to sound like a broken record, the confidence I had initially gained from theatre began to deteriorate. I decided that I needed to take action, so I began my campaign to bring new lives to the forgotten smaller characters. Receiving a standing ovation as a leading actress is not only easy, but almost expected. However, hearing the cheers and watching the audience rise after playing “Milky White” the dancing cow is not quite as predictable. But I did it, and I began to love the actress I was. My confidence returned and I actually enjoyed the small, quirky roles I received. Relishing in the fact that I stood out in roles less sought out for, I felt like the applause I received was far more meaningful than those from my larger endeavors. Who forgets the dancing cow?
The theatre has given me ample amounts of confidence that I have put to use in my schoolwork, jobs, social life as well as conquering my own insecurities. I can not say all nerves were suppressed when dancing in a spandex unitard as a “Spoon” in Beauty and the Beast. On the contrary, I can say that shows such as that have made me comfortable in my own skin, literally.
Now, not only can I breathe freely stepping on stage but I can plant myself in front of a classroom with self assurance. While theatre was a large part of my last few years in high school, I hope that people also remember the will and determination I had in other areas. I am a teacher of English as a Second Language for Pierce College and am trying to gain accreditation as a grown adult as I finish my last few days of high school.
Dreams of mine came true, making my small yet memorable moments appear on the Rogers Stage. I never wore the daffodil yellow “Belle” ball gown, or sang into the oblivion as “Cinderella”, but I will use my poise gained from other roles to portray my beauty in real life, rather in the fantasies onstage.
......I think Claire Tran is a truly driven, confident young lady who not only standouts in her high school, but as well as in her community. What a wonderful essay!
Here is the SURPRISE part of the day. Christy Pelland had made plans the previous week with a counselor at Rogers High School (where I actually went to high school) about us coming by and surprising Claire as well as coordinating her busy schedule with her drama teacher, Mr. Wernofsky. Since Claire also attends Pierce College making things a little bit more complicated, it was important to make sure she was on campus. Yesterday morning I met up with Melissa Anderson, the owner of Che'mel Salon and Christy Pelland from c.pelland photography to make our way to the performing arts center where Claire was in class.
All of us were so excited and anxious to present her with the prizes as well as to see her reaction.
Taking a sneak peek through the auditorium doors into the classroom of students....
We walked in with our gifts, bouquet and camera in hand. We stopped right by where Mr. Wernofsky was taking role and asked about whether "Miss Claire Tran was available?". Mr. Wernofsky pointed towards the stage and told Claire that she had visitors.
We walked up on stage where we all greeted Claire with hugs. We were so happy and she was all smiles! Christy announced to the class (while I played photographer) that Claire had entered for the Standout Prom Contest and was chosen as the WINNER based on the essay she had written of why she stands out in her high school. Christy went on to explain to Claire's classmates how she will get the most amazing prom experience ever!
We presented Claire with the gifts and informed her of some details. It was really great to see her so happy and smiling!
Congratulations Claire!!!! You deserve it! It is so great to see such a young lady be so driven in life.
I am really happy that I was a part of this whole experience and also am excited for Claire's special prom day and graduation party! Once again..... CONGRATULATIONS CLAIRE!!!!