EVHS group expands beyond prom dresses into female empowerment
The Ruby Slipper launched at East View High School on the underlying belief that all women deserve to feel beautiful, respected, and self-confident. To that end, the student-led organization collects prom dresses to provide free of charge to any high school senior in Georgetown who needs or wants one.
“The initiative was hugely successful,” says faculty advisor Terri Carpenter. “And we realized that The Ruby Slipper could become much more than a free dress closet. It could become a safe place where women learn how to be gracious, empowered leaders.”
The organization, which is open to all female EVHS students, puts on an array of women-focused empowerment content including a pre-prom lunchtime fashion show to model the donated dresses, an annual empowerment tea party, and biannual Girl Talk events featuring inspirational talks from accomplished area women such as LCRA project manager Monica Masters and author Alicea Jones.
Though empowerment is a huge point of interest in The Ruby Slipper, both the faculty advisers and student leaders are quick to point out that their brand of empowerment has less to do with competing with men than it does with presenting themselves in a manner than commands dignity and respect.
“With The Ruby Slipper, we want to show girls that they’re going to feel more confident if they present themselves with class and elegance instead of just letting everything hang out,” says Claire Lindemann, an EVHS senior and one of The Ruby Slipper’s eight student leaders.
Annie Leihardt, an EVHS junior and The Ruby Slipper student leader, echoes her sentiment: “As leadership, we try to be a good example of what we believe a strong woman should be. Part of that is presenting ourselves well in personality, manners, and the way that we dress.”
Within The Ruby Slipper’s leadership team, students have different clothing styles and ways of presenting themselves to the world. But they all believe that the way to garner esteem is through self-respect and presenting themselves as confident women.
“A lot of high school girls do things to try to impress the guys,” says Taeghan Shelly, a senior and The Ruby Slipper student leader. “But I think it’s really important in today’s society for women to be classy and to be strong—to be your own person and live for yourself instead of living for another person.”
Recently, The Ruby Slipper started another clothing initiative—this time offering professional attire that girls can wear to interviews. As with the prom dresses, available outfits come from donations, and any female student who needs or wants the attire may visit The Ruby Slipper clothing closet to select a suitable outfit, free of charge.
Last year, The Ruby Slipper provided 68 prom dresses to seniors attending EVHS, GHS, and Richarte 2015 proms; they expect the interview attire initiative to be equally successful.
To the East View High women, The Ruby Slipper is not just another high school club—it’s a movement that all female students are invited to join. Josie Valdez, a junior and The Ruby Slipper student leader, sums it up well: “If you follow the crowd, you’re going to be just like everyone else. But we provide a place for other girls to come, so they don’t have to be. You’re not obligated to come every time, but when you want to come, we’ll be here.”
To donate prom dresses, professional attire, jewelry, or money to The Ruby Slipper, please drop off items at the EVHS front desk or call 512-943-1800 for more information. You may also visit www.facebook.com/EastViewRubySlipper. East View is located at 4490 East University.