By Karen McAllister

Nearly 250 Tampa Bay high school students were treated Monday to a royal day of prom dress and formal wear shopping at TLC’s Say Yes to the Prom event at Raymond James Stadium. More than 20 AT&T employees volunteered to serve as the students’ “personal shoppers” and mentors throughout the day.

Volunteers guided the girls in selecting prom dresses, shoes, jewelry and purses, even nail polish for their upcoming proms. And high school boys got to choose formal wear, dress shoes, ties and socks for the big night.

For many of the students, prom shopping would not have been possible without the special day provided by TLC and AT&T. Five high schools in the Tampa region chose 50 students to participate from their senior classes. Most come from low-income families and are in the top of their class with high GPAs and multiple extra-curricular activities.

The students were giddy with excitement as they browsed a room of 2,500 Macy’s prom dresses. It was stress-free shopping for the students, with no one checking price tags as they eyed beaded dresses and designer shoes.

“It’s so nice because senior year is really expensive,” said Syerra Vincent, a senior at Leto High School in Tampa. “And it’s great that we get to go all out here. It takes a lot of weight off for us and our parents.”

The students also had help with their dress selection from Monte Durham, fashion director of “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta.” As they stood in front of the full-length silver mirror with Durham, he would tell the girls, “You look like a princess!” “You look fabulous!” Then he’d give the girls a big hug and whisk them away to the shoe racks.

Milagros Montoute, director of sales for the west Florida region, greeted the girls to help them choose the right heels and purses to complete their outfit. “We’re helping them make a statement,” Montoute said.

Montoute said she was grateful to spend the day with the high school students. “I think we all have to leave our mark,” she said, “We’re constantly looking for those opportunities to leave our mark in this society and our community and we want to do it with authenticity. We want to make it real, authentic and genuine.”

In all, more than 20 AT&T employees volunteered at the event, some as members of AT&T Pioneers or Women of AT&T.  In 2018, the Say Yes to the Prom tour will touch the lives of nearly 1,000 students in New York, Tampa, Miami, Houston, Knoxville and Silver Spring, Md.

AT&T has worked with TLC for the Say Yes to the Prom initiative for the last 6 years.

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