Prom Dresses Wanted: PA Helps Make “Prom Possible” For Low-Income Students in Twin Cities

Prom Possible
College Possible students “shop” for Prom dresses donated through Prom Possible. Photo contributed by Sarah Martin.

At Providence Academy, prom is a fun way to dress up and make memories with friends before the end of the school year. But for College Possible students, prom means a lot more.

College Possible makes college possible for 10,000 low-income students in the Twin Cities. Guides coach high schoolers on their path to and through college, something that never seemed attainable for them before. Founded in 2000, College Possible wanted to ensure that every person has a chance to go to college. The program has expanded to 20 partner high schools, and an additional 20 high schools are on a waiting list.

College Possible recognizes that after working hard on college applications, essays, and scholarships, their students have earned the chance to have fun.

“Applying to college is expensive, so we want our students to save their hard earned money for college expenses,” Sarah Martin, Development Officer at College Possible Twin Cities, says. “Prom Possible is a way to save their money.”

And that is where Providence comes in.

It may be impossible for College Possible students to attend prom due to limited financial resources, so the organization accepts donations such as gently used prom-appropriate dresses, shoes, and purses. Middle school counselor Mrs. Emily Semsch has been collecting donated dresses in her office.

Martin says that they are are looking for any kind of dress, such as what you’ve worn to a wedding or a homecoming, short or long. 

On Saturday, April 5, Prom Possible will take place at College Possible Twin Cities, and students will be able to pick their dresses from a room while enjoying snacks and movies.

“We try to collect enough dresses to make it like a shopping experience,” Martin says. “It’s more special because they get to choose.”

Be a part of Prom Possible and bring in your gently used dress to Mrs. Semsch’s office by April 4. Your donation could make a difference in a Twin Cities student’s life.

“My senior prom will be perfect because of your generous donation,” College Possible student Chee V. says. “Thank you so much!”

For Marcus Beddor ’15, Jiu-Jitsu has given him a new perspective

Marcus Beddor '15 winning a match. Photo contributed by: Marcus Beddor
Marcus Beddor ’15 (right) winning a Jiu-Jitzu match. Photo contributed by: Marcus Beddor

Marcus Beddor ’15 started scoring boxing matches with his brother when he was in middle school.

Instead of boxing, though, the high school junior Jiu-Jitsu student training at M-Theory Martial Arts uses chokeholds and joint locks to defend against his assailants.

Training at his St. Louis Park based gym for three hours every evening, Beddor has dedicated the past three years of his life to a sport that he says has changed his life.

If you follow Beddor on any form of social media, you can see his sport requires him to travel the United States for various tournaments. Destinations have included Florida, Nevada, Wisconsin, California, and Illinois. He has won awards at almost every event.

Beddor is a dedicated Jiu-Jitsu student who is a three time gold medalist, five time silver medalist, and one time bronze medalist. The 135 pound Beddor says he once even took down a 256 pound assailant, which has given him a new sense of confidence.

Beddor says he enjoys using arm bars against his opponents.

“I hit them from different angles,” said the outgoing Beddor. “I slate their arm and hyperextend it slowly. You use your hips.”

Beddor recently switched gyms in order to train more heavily and compete at a higher level. He says that he has taken to his new teammates quickly and loves to learn from them.

“I’m on the bottom of the barrel,” Beddor said regarding his skill level compared to his teammates.

Although he makes sure to be careful when he competes, he has had one considerable injury while taking on an assailant. He fell on his thumb and he said he immediately knew it was torn.

“I finished my match, though,” Beddor said. “It was agony.”

He ended up tearing everything in his thumb, some in his hand, and some in his forearm. He took his cast off too early and it hasn’t healed properly, something he says that he just has to deal with.

Jiu-Jitsu is known for changing people’s lives, and it has done just that for Beddor.  He says that through experience and the art itself, he has learned to be humble as well as confident.

“You have to flow with the go, not go with the flow,” Beddor said. “Whatever life throws at you, take it, and then bend it to what you want it to be.”

Beddor posing with his trophy. Photo contributed by: Marcus Beddor
Beddor (right) posing with his trophy. Photo contributed by: Marcus Beddor

Photo contributed by: Marcus Beddor
Beddor (middle) with teammates. Photo contributed by: Marcus Beddor
Beddor coming in third place. Photo contributed by Marcus Beddor
Beddor (left) coming in third place. Photo contributed by Marcus Beddor