Fashionable Function Funds Food for Families

This story was written for a media-writing course at the University of North Texas.

Women and their daughters from all over Allen, TX gussied themselves up Sunday afternoon for a light brunch and a fashion show, hosted by the National Charity League of Allen.

The second annual style show, entitled “NCL Goes Hollywood,” was held at Allen High School for NCL members.

The National Charity League, an organization created to join mothers and teenage daughters together in community service work, is made up of 48,000 members in 175 chapters all over the US. Last year alone, the organization estimated over one million volunteer hours in communities nationwide.

The 166th chapter, located in Allen, TX, celebrated the close of its inaugural year last spring and kicked off its second year in late August. Dana Pickle, NCL Allen president, decided to launch the chapter in 2011, after seeing the success that her sister had with a NCL chapter in Houston.

“You always say your going to get out and do charity work, but you never do. NCL gives you the motivation to do something,” she said. “These past few years have been a ton of work but the rewards have paid back tenfold. I can see it most in my relationship with my daughter.”

Many other moms relayed the same remarks of gratitude, regarding NCL’s activities over the past couple of years. One group, of about 15 moms, has seen how NCL provides an outlet for their daughters to get back in connection with old friends.

“My daughter had a big group of friends from her elementary school girl scout group,” said Laura Gongos, mother of AHS junior, Amanda Gongos. “When girl scouts stopped being the cool thing to do and her friends started getting involved in other activities, the group fell apart. NCL has given us the opportunity to all be involved again.”

Amanda Gongos and many of her friends were among the 17 juniors chosen to model clothing for the style show, which benefitted the numerous NCL charities including the Heard Museum and Meals on Wheels.

Their clothing included formal wear by BCBG and casual wear provided by Willa at Water’s Creek and Apricot Lane. Macy’s and Charming Charlie supplied makeup and accessories, respectively.

The models’ stylish clothing choices were not the only strength they offered. The girls are incredibly involved in their communities and schools. They come from many different organizations, such as choir, volley ball and drill team, and tout outstanding achievements, including Texas state golf championships and top 3% academic ranking.

NCL sold over 100 tickets, priced at $35, to the style show located in the AHS Performing Arts Building. The Allen High School Black Box was the originally planned location for the event, but a small fire earlier in the week removed this venue as an option.

However, an outsider would have never known the difference. The red and silver decorations provided a beautiful backdrop and the event flowed smoothly from lunch into the fashion show.

The catered lunch consisted of elegant finger foods and was provided by blú, the AHS culinary department’s restaurant. Five hospitality management students offered any help with food service and were dressed as catering staff.

AHS Hospitality management teacher Sheila Hyde watched over her students from a distance and assisted when necessary. She requires her students to apply for this opportunity and then trains them at workshops throughout the year.

“The students you see here are the best of the best,” said Hyde. “We don’t let just anyone interact with our clients. They were handpicked and have been intensively prepared for catering events.”

Abigail Ramsey, one of the trained hospitality students, wants to manage her own restaurant someday.

“It’s really awesome that I go to a school that gives me the opportunity to already do the stuff that I want to do one day. Most other students don’t have [catering programs] as an option” said Ramsey.

Seeing this elevated volume of accomplished high school students is further proof that today’s students are more qualified in some aspects than ever before. Furthermore, Allen is proving to be an increasingly better place to raise high school students.

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