It is with an understanding and a desire to help those less fortunate that one high school senior has organized a "Pennies for Prom" fund-raiser.
"There are so many expenses your senior year, and I'm beginning to realize that," said Jessica Marlatt, the 18-year-old daughter of Tim and Kim Marlatt, of Evans. "I don't know how someone who isn't as well off as I am can handle these expenses."
Marlatt, who has two younger brothers, said she began to look into the idea of organizing the fund-raiser when she was thinking of a senior project topic.
"My senior project involves researching the effects of poverty on teens in America, and I'm looking at how that affects teens psychologically and socially and what stigmas are placed on those who are less fortunate," said Marlatt, a senior at Greenbrier High.
Carol Shrout said it is the depth and perspective from which Marlatt is researching her project that makes it stand out.
"I am impressed with the quality of her idea for her research and for her product. I also like the local connection - the idea of doing something for someone here at our school," said Shrout, chairwoman of the school's English department and senior project coordinator at Greenbrier High. "I have found that many of our students at Greenbrier are socially conscious and interested in doing something in the service of others - volunteering, fund-raising, teaching, etc. Of course, such products often result in research on social issues."
Jessica Marlatt, a senior at Greenbrier High School, has organized Pennies for Prom, a fund-raiser that will help four less fortunate students pay for their prom expenses.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Marlatt stumbled across the Cinderella Project, based in Atlanta, when she began researching her project. She decided then that she wanted to start her own Pennies for Prom fund-raiser to help two girls and two boys.
"As long as someone deserving gets it," she said. "I really don't want to know who benefits from this. I just want them to have the same prom experience that everyone else does."
Monetary donations will be used to buy gift certificates to salons and dress shops, where the students will be dolled up from head to toe.
"I want the girls to be able to get their hair and makeup done, and I want both the girls and boys to be able to pick out their own clothes to wear," she said. "I want it to be fun for them."
Marlatt knows a lot about having fun: she's co-president of the Greenbrier High Drama Club and is on the Medical College of Georgia Teen Board. She also works part-time at a local radio station and is joint-enrolled at Augusta State University.
"Jessica is a special student. She has chosen to stand in front of her peers and act as a director for two shows," said Steven Hansen, drama teacher at Greenbrier High. "Both were summer shows in which she organized rehearsals, guided actors in character development, and blocked and rehearsed the scenes of the show. The strong reception by our audiences for these shows is proof that she is succeeding at her craft. She has a great deal of talent potential, and we expect great things from her in the future."
That's good news for Marlatt, who plans to major in theater management in college.
"The students have a great amount of respect for her and her accomplishments," Hansen said. "Our beginning drama class of freshmen mistook her for a student teacher, in part by her dress and the manner in which she carries herself. She has maturity beyond her years."
And that maturity is showing through in Marlatt's latest effort. To donate to the fund-raiser, e-mail Marlatt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make Kids Count is a project dedicated to highlighting the achievements of children in our area. To suggest a pupil for a Make Kids Count profile, send an inquiry to email@example.com
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