Eye of the Tiger

Carstens provides dance accessories for those in need

VIKTORIA BARR

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Roseville High School administrative assistant Sarah Carstens has taken an interest in helping RHS students through the potential financial troubles that come along with high school dances.  

Mainly focusing on prom, Carstens has taken it upon herself to start a dress donation program which provides students with dresses who are unable to afford to buy one themselves. This program would not only be a donation program for specifically prom dresses, but for shoes, accessories and even dress ties and shirts for men.

According to Carstens, the program was inspired by a former special education teacher at RHS,  Lynn Shelley.  

“When Lynn left she said, ‘Sarah, I’m hoping that you can continue the trend. You don’t have to use your own money, but there are people that always want to help, so just get the word out,’” Carstens said.

Carstens hopes to keep the kindness of RHS alive and plans to honor Shelley by continuing the generosity that she provided during her many years of teaching. Carstens would hate to see Shelley’s generosity leave with her.

“So like maybe making it more of a Roseville thing but a Lynn Shelly inspired in honor of her and she’s not passed away she is alive and well,” Carstens said. “She’s just done a lot for the students here at Roseville and I don’t want to see that just kind of go away.”

According to Carstens, before Shelley retired, she would spend her own money in order to help students with not only dances, but sports equipment or anything else they could possibly be in need of.

“Whenever a student would be in need if she got wind of it, she would just make it happen,” Carstens said.

According to Carstens one day someone brought in a bag of of old prom dresses, and around two days later more prom dresses showed up. Carstens saw it as the sign that eventually sparked the beginning of this dress donation program. 

In the beginning, Carstens saw it as an opportunity to provide the students of RHS with prom dresses but eventually discovered that the program could help those outside of the school as well.

Carstens also hopes to further the program by reaching out to shelters such as the Gathering Inn, which is a housing shelter where many students at RHS have lived throughout the years.

“You know like for dances for homecoming or prom if we think in those terms then maybe, I don’t know, maybe this could grow to be something we can work with other high schools in the area on,” Carstens said.

Although this program has already received many dresses, Carstens says that most of them are out of style which is something she hopes on changing. Carstens plans on doing this by informing students of the issue in the hopes that they will become more aware of what they’re donating.

“I thought well maybe I should reach out to the students  because I know they have something in the back of their closet that maybe they wore for eighth grade graduation and they’re like, ‘I’m not going to wear that again’ but somebody else really could appreciate it,” Carstens said.

According to Carstens, the feeling of being able to see the look on students faces when they are presented with something that they think they’ll never be able to afford is what makes the program worthwhile.

“To have somebody feel like they don’t get to experience that same love and excitement of going into a dance is just heartbreaking so it’s just a good, warm feeling to help them out,” Carstens said.

Academic lab teacher Lana Gartain believes Shelley is a teacher that, throughout the years, has helped to build the “Tiger Way” and is a representation of the embodiment of what RHS Tiger culture is all about.

“Lynn viewed her students holistically and was devoted to helping them have a positive high school experience,” Gartain said. “She was just considered the heart and soul of our department.”

According to Gartain, Shelley’s positive attitude spread throughout RHS and reminded its inhabitants to be kind and generous with one another.  This can still be seen today through simple tasks or donation programs such a Carstens prom dress donation program.

“Sarah Carstens is doing a lovely service for RHS students by keeping the prom dress donation program alive, and I appreciate her efforts and I know that Lynn does also,”  Gartain said.

Junior Carrie LaFranchi has been approached by Carstens in the efforts to get more student involvement in the recently developed dress donation program. According to LaFranchi, she feels that this could be a really good idea, however still searches for more students to help donate.

“So I know it’s a good idea because I know that there aren’t a lot of other people out there that can afford to get a dress, as well as the guys that want to go but don’t have money,” LaFranchi said.

LaFranchi also thinks that this program will be beneficial for those who can’t afford dance-worthy attire, allowing them to be able participate in the school events that most look forward to.

“I think it opens up the possibility that they don’t have to feel embarrassed that they can’t go to the dance just because they say, ‘Oh well I can’t afford a dress,’” Lafranchi said.

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