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Teachers of the Future undertake 'Cinderella' effort

December 09, 2009

In the classic folktale, “Cinderella,” the Fairy Godmother magically appears in the nick of time to help Cinderella attend the prince’s ball, turning the lady’s rags into a beautiful gown. At Arizona State University, the West campus Teachers of the Future club is attempting the same magic, relying on the generosity of others.

The club, some 25 strong, has partnered with the Phoenix branch of Fairy Godmothers, an organization dedicated to providing a special prom experience to qualified high school girls, to collect new or gently used clean gowns, jewelry, shoes, shawls and evening bags between now and Jan. 31. Donations can be dropped at the Teaching Resource Library at the West campus, located in CLCC L-1-20, Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Fri., 8 a.m.-2 p.m. The donations will be offered for as little as $5 at the Tolleson High School Prom Fair on Feb. 20.

“We have access to thousands of students who can donate their gently used formal wear, and we wanted to take part in a community service project that will have a significant impact,” says Irene Arguello, club president and a junior secondary education history major in the College of Teacher Education and Leadership (CTEL) and also a political science major in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. “We all have fond memories of prom and we understand that without aid, a lot of young women won’t be able to experience it on their own.”

For Fairy Godmothers founder and CEO Joyce Jesko, the chance to team with ASU and Teachers of the Future is a golden opportunity.

“The Tolleson High event will be the third fair we have done in the Phoenix area, and the help we are receiving from the university and the club is very important. There is strength in numbers, and we need to build our inventory so we can send more young ladies to the prom.  The prom season is nearing and we are grateful for the support we are receiving from Teachers of the Future; they’re a very dedicated group.”

The West campus club is no stranger to stepping in to help out. Annually, the club conducts its “Christmas Angels” event, collecting toys, clothing, canned food and more to donate to the Salvation Army and St. Mary’s Food Bank. This year’s drive starts Dec. 1 with a community rollout event scheduled Dec. 3 in the Delph Courtyard on the West campus.  Last year, the club conducted a successful school supply drive for Peoria Elementary School. More events are in the making.

“We’d like to do an event a month,” says Jennifer Gilbert, a CTEL secondary education and New College political science major who is also a Barrett, the Honors College student. She serves as promotions officer for Teachers of the Future. “This is the community we will teach in,” she says. “We should be taking care of those within the community, and there are lots of ways we can do it.

“As students, it can be difficult to fully comprehend what we will be faced with in the classroom, where many of the students may live with financial challenges that don’t allow them to participate in extracurricular activities or milestone events such as a prom. This is such a great opportunity for our club to be a part of an effort to give something back to the community and contribute to young girls’ lives and be a part of their special evening.”

Meanwhile, the Tolleson prom fair is seeking volunteers to assist with the event, serving as personal shoppers to help prom hopefuls select the perfect gown and accessories. Sponsorship opportunities are also available by contacting Stephanie Mercomes at the Tolleson Union High School District via email at

Prom clothes pickup arrangements can be made via email to