Cinderella of the prom: One KMS junior will have the prom of a lifetime
Thanks to the generosity of a community and the support of her classmates, one Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg student will have a true fairytale prom.
Ashley Eickhoff, a junior at KMS, will have every part of her prom paid for — from her hair to her flowers to her dress. Eickhoff was the recipient of the first-ever “Cinderella Blessings” package, presented by La Scene, a department of the New 2 You Thrift Store in Willmar.
“When they told me I won, I was shocked. I wasn’t prepared at all,” Eickhoff said. “This could give anyone a chance to feel beautiful. I do feel like Cinderella.”
On May 4, Eickhoff will walk in the KMS Grand March wearing a purple ballgown from Weddings on First, her hair done by Fantastic Sams and her nails by Bellezza Salon & Spa. She’ll carry flowers from Late Bloomers Floral & Gift and will dine with her date beforehand at The Oaks at Eagle Creek.
Her mom, Michelle Hammill, said the Cinderella Blessings package was a big help in funding Eickhoff’s prom experience.
“I told her before we found out she won that it was going to be tight, and she couldn’t be too picky with a dress,” Hammill said. “This was a huge help. We’re very grateful.”
Eickhoff has been dreaming about prom since her older brother attended when she was in ninth grade.
“I’m looking forward to just spending time with friends, laughing with them and seeing all of the other pretty dresses,” she said. “It’s going to be really, really fun. I’m ready for it.”
This is the first year that La Scene has done the Cinderella Blessings package. Back in January, La Scene manager Terri Swart began contacting area schools, asking them to nominate a girl who deserved to go to prom at no cost. They received “quite a number” of applications, but no girl received as many nominations as Eickhoff: She had nine.
“She has obviously touched a number of people in a positive way,” said Becky Zondervan, store manager at New 2 You. “We hope this gives her a huge boost of self-esteem and love, to know that so many people cared to nominate her and wanted her to have a fairytale day.”
Most of Eickhoff’s nominations came from her fellow students at KMS. A group of senior girls, including Kelly Holt, Megan Holt and Erin Haglund, initiated the effort to have Eickhoff win the package.
“She’s a good role model and has a bright personality,” Megan Holt said. “No matter what, she always pushes forward. You never see her down on herself.”
“She’s so well-deserving,” Haglund said of Eickhoff. “She always positive and smiling. She talks to everyone.”
While the group of senior girls could have nominated each other for the package, they wanted to nominate Eickhoff for other reasons.
“She’ll get the whole experience – the dress, the flowers, the nails. We already have the chance to do that,” Kelly Holt said. “It’s something she maybe wouldn’t have got otherwise. This is something she can feel proud about now too.”
The KMS school social worker, Joquel Molenaar, also nominated Eickhoff for the package, but she gives all of the credit to the students for her win.
“Not often do you see kids reach out for no other reason than they thought it would be nice,” Molenaar said. “And Ashley is so deserving. She’s one of those overall good kids who just warms your heart. She will have a great prom.”
Eickhoff said she was touched by the outpouring of support she received from her classmates.
“It was amazing to see all of those people voting for me,” she said. “It’s nice to go to a school where all the girls are nice to me.”
New 2 You and La Scene plan to do another Cinderella Blessings project next year. Sponsors for Cinderella Blessings were Weddings on First, Fantastic Sams, The Back Yard, Bellezza Salon & Spa, Late Bloomers Floral & Gift, The Oaks at Eagle Creek and Print Masters.
“We feel blessed to be able to do this for her,” Swart said. “Every girl should have the chance to be Cinderella at her prom.”