Prom Queens

By Dave Bertola

After Tasha Megna overheard McKinley High School students talking about how attending the upcoming prom was a longshot, she and National Grid’s WiNTR group collected gowns and shoes that made a difference.

Seniors at one Buffalo-area high school had been disappointed at the prospect of not being able to attend an expensive prom night this year. But in recent weeks they found themselves modeling a variety of formal gowns and shoes – and punching their prom tickets – thanks to a group of National Grid employees who were inspired to pitch in and help.

One day, while picking up her son from Buffalo’s McKinley Vocational High School, where he is a student, regional account services representative Tasha Megna overheard a conversation among young women. They were dismayed that the prom was just around the corner, and that they probably would be spending the evening at home.

Fortunately, Megna is also the event coordinator for a group of National Grid employees called Women in Non Traditional Roles (WiNTR). The group, formed in 2017, seeks to provide professional development and personal growth opportunities. Part of its vision statement includes working with leaders to develop programs and events, that give back to the community.

Hearing the distraught students sparked an idea for Megna, who shared it at the next WiNTR meeting. She thought she could collect lightly used gowns, shoes and jewelry from employees and donate them to the school.

She also had a head start on the collection process.

“My daughter had three dresses in her closet,” she said with a laugh.

When everything had been collected by WiNTR’s April 20 due date, Megna had 45 dresses, nine pairs of shoes and a few boxes of accessories, which she delivered to the high school on April 23.

Upon delivery, she was greeted by laughing, jubilant students, who tried on gowns and envisioned how regal they’d appear on prom night. Megna got caught up in the moment, too.

“They were so happy and excited; and to see their faces, knowing that they could now go to the prom, I was practically in tears!”  she said.

This year’s prom gown donations were made available to seniors. But Megna is already looking ahead toward next year, when she’ll start the campaign a bit earlier. This way, she can hopefully collect enough gowns to include the junior class.

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