Making Prom More Practical

Gabriella Rodriguez has it all planned out. A senior at George Washington Carver High School For The Sciences, she’s set on attending Stony Brook University for pre-med and medical school, and wants to become a surgeon. But her most immediate challenge was to pick out what she was going to wear to her prom.

With prom coming up later this year, her high school was one of about 15 local schools in low-income communities that sent select students to a prom giveaway event on February 27, sponsored by 100 Suits for 100 Men, an organization that provides suits to low-income or formerly incarcerated individuals.

The event was the first time Kevin Livingston, the organization’s founder, hosted a prom giveaway event, which in addition to providing dresses, shirts, jackets and ties, also included tie-tying sessions for the men and makeovers for the ladies. He said 180 high school and middle school students attended the event at the Harvest Room in Jamaica, Queens.

Livingston said that 40 students who attended the event will get the chance to go to Columbia University in April, where they’ll have lunch, tour the campus and have a networking session with Columbia students: part two of the experience, dubbed the “100 Suits Academy Luncheon.”

For Rodriguez, an athlete, the day was unlike anything she’d every experienced before. “I live on sports, so I would never think I would be the one to pick up a dress and say I want to wear this to an event,” she said. “But this event really showed me that I can still be the person I am, and still be feminine at the same time.”