SAN BENITO — In the Valley, a girl’s 15th birthday isn’t just another day on a calendar but a rite of passage.
In a floor-length dress, tight curls and heels, girls celebrating their Quinceanera are missing just one thing.
Veterans Memorial Academy will begin collecting monetary donations for the purchase of tiaras to be used during the annual Quinceanera Ball.
VMA teacher Olga Reyes said the annual ball is an opportunity for girls turning 15 years old to celebrate the next stage of their life.
Girls who would not normally have the opportunity to receive the traditional extravagant birthday party are offered the opportunity to celebrate it with their peers.
“It offers teens the opportunity to have a quinceanera who would otherwise be unable to afford one,” Reyes said.
Girls participating are loaned traditional quinceanera dresses and receive makeovers before the big party.
“Gowns, make-up and hair styling are provided to the girls but what many of them lack is a beautiful tiara to fulfill their dream of a memorable evening at the Quinceanera Ball,” Reyes said.
Last year, 50 girls attended the ball to celebrate their 15th birthdays.
According to Reyes, more than half of the girls attending were not able to wear a tiara during the dance.
Her class’s fundraiser is hoping to change that.
“My students’ goal this year is to ensure that all girls shine as true princesses,” Reyes said.
Reyes said her class is accepting monetary donations to purchase new tiaras but gently used tiaras are also accepted.
The drive has already started with three donated tiaras.
“Young ladies are actually donating their own tiaras worn at their own quince,” Reyes said. “What a wonderful gesture to give up and donate something so personal, but they did so willingly and happily.”
Reyes said her class hopes to collect enough money to purchase 50 tiaras by March, before the annual Quinceanera Ball takes place in May.
WANT TO DONATE?
Donations can be dropped off at Veterans Memorial Academy or contact Olga Reyes at 956-276-6000, ext. 5431