For any young woman getting ready for the prom, having their hair all done up is a big deal. But for many the cost can be prohibitive. For nine lucky students at Haverhill High School who were selected for a free styling, it was a dream come true.
Stylists from the award-winning Viselli Santoro Salon of Newbury Street in Boston set up shop so to speak in Haverhill High School’s new cosmetology space yesterday. Three stylists worked from noon to 3 p.m. to get eight seniors and one junior ready for the prom by giving them stunning hair styles. They also did some of the students’ nails.
Each year the school’s Cinderella’s Closet program provides students with prom dresses, suits, accessories and prom tickets. The program is supported through donations by people in the community.
This year, Cinderella’s Closet distributed more than $1,000 in prom tickets in an effort to make sure every student who wanted to attend the prom could, without having to worry about how to pay for the tickets.
“Even with the prom dresses, if they can’t afford the tickets they can’t go,” said Carol Ireland, a student support specialist at Haverhill High.
This year, many students also received assistance for prom from another program in Lawrence called “Priceless Prom Gown Program,” which was founded by Carol Lanni of Haverhill.
Ireland said the Lawrence’s program is quite established and was offered an opportunity by the Viselli Santoro Salon of Boston to do free hairstyling for prom night for nine students. She said the cost of a prom hairstyle at the Boston salon starts at $125.
“The Lawrence program extended this wonderful opportunity to Haverhill High,” Ireland said.
Ireland said a collaboration between the Haverhill and Lawrence programs, the Boston salon, faculty and individuals ensured that all students were given an opportunity to experience the “once in a lifetime” event that is senior prom. The prom was held last night at the Atkinson Country Club.
Nathalia Ulysse, a junior who planned to attend the prom with a senior, had her hair done yesterday.
“I was very surprised as usually these are very expensive,” Ulysse said. “I have hair that is difficult to style because my curls are so tight. You can’t tame it just with heat. It takes talent to style it.”
Ulysse said the stylist who did her hair knew how to work with it and created an appropriate style for the prom.
“I’m really happy with the results,” Ulysse said shortly after having her hair styled.
Brittany Travers, a senior, told her stylist that she wanted something different done to her hair.
“It came out really good, and I had my nails done too,” Travers said, adding that all she had to do was to go home, put on her dress and makeup then head to the prom.
Priceless Prom Gown is a nonprofit organization that collects gowns for financially-challenged students who cannot afford to go to prom.
Accessories such as shoes, jewelry, hair styling, manicures and pedicures are also provided.
Susan Finn, dean of Haverhill High’s business and technology academy, is the adviser to Cinderella’s Closet. Finn said the program accepts donations all year long. Students try on gowns at school or at their home then get to keep the one they choose for the prom. The program provides free dry cleaning and alterations as well. Finn said she handed out eight gowns this year.
The program also gave out 13 prom tickets at a price of $70 per ticket.
“It seems that each year there are more and more students who are in need,” Finn said. “We get a lot of dress donations but now we need funds to help sponsor prom tickets.”
To donate, contact Finn at sfinn@haverhill-ps-org.
Pam Lundstrom of Andover, a volunteer with Priceless Prom Gown, said the Viscelli Salon contacted her with an offer to help students who planned to go to their prom. The salon offered to bring their services to the students. Haverhill High had the perfect space, a room with styling chairs, sinks and other salon equipment.
Finn said the stylists from Boston were the fastest she’d ever seen.
“The girls were ecstatic,” Finn said.