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Formal Fashion Show on Feb. 20 to raise funds for Nighthawks SOAR

February 12, 2020

When Dr. Cyndee Perdue Moore, executive director of the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Oconee Campus, received a donation of 101 dresses, she knew she wanted to find a way for it to support the Nighthawks Student Opportunities for Accelerated Readiness (SOAR) program.

It was just a matter of finding the right way to benefit the three-week summer program for economically disadvantaged and English as a second language learners who are potential first-generation college students. More than 30 students from the Athens-Clarke and Oconee County school systems attended the inaugural Nighthawks SOAR in 2019, and a second installment is planned for this year with hopes to reach more counties and host 60 students. 

"Research shows that students slide back about 40 percent in the summer if they are not engaged," Moore said. "We wanted to give these students a way to engage in a fun and meaningful way in a science, technology, engineering, art and math or STEAM camp."

Moore and Sarah Gilbert, administrative assistant and special events coordinator on UNG's Oconee Campus, hatched the idea for the Formal Fashion Show, now set for 6-8 p.m. Feb. 20 in Room 522 on the Oconee Campus. The dresses were donated from Dover Grace Boutique in Watkinsville, which needed to make room for new styles.

Students from local school systems and UNG students, faculty and staff will serve as the models for the fashion show, which begins at 6:45 p.m. and should feature about 20 of the dresses. The rest will be on racks for attendees to peruse.

"We feel so passionately about reaching out to kids who might be first-generation students," Moore said. "This is a wonderful opportunity for the Formal Fashion Show to help those efforts, and we had to seize it."

Gilbert, who has a degree in fashion merchandising from the University of Georgia, and Kristin Stalvey, admissions coordinator on the Oconee Campus, have organized the fashion show.

Admission is $5, with no RSVP required, and that money can be applied to the purchase of a dress. The deeply discounted dresses are available from children's size 8 to women's size 26, for occasions from prom to mother of the bride to quinceañera. Only cash and checks will be accepted. Door prizes and beauty demonstrations from area businesses will also be part of the festivities.

Moore and Gilbert envision the event as a fun mother-daughter night that comes at the perfect time with proms in April.

As a fundraiser for a program that helps introduce students to the idea of college and UNG, Moore hopes the Formal Fashion Show can provide another avenue for community members to see what UNG has to offer.

"It seems only fitting that we have an event that involves young people and brings them to our campus to talk about UNG," Moore said.

Georgia Power has committed to a sponsorship donation for this summer's Nighthawks SOAR, and Moore hopes to add other local businesses and individuals to the list of supporters and sponsors for the 2020 session. Those interested in supporting SOAR through donations should contact Moore at or 706-310-6219 or can donate online.

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