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School uniforms traded for gowns at Our Lady of Mercy prom

Benjamin Weber accompanied Our Lady of Mercy Academy

Benjamin Weber accompanied Our Lady of Mercy Academy senior Charlotte Simone to the school's senior prom at The Metropolitan in Glen Cove on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Photo Credit: Marlo Jappen

Our Lady of Mercy Academy students ditched their white polo shirts, plaid skirts and loafers for sparkly gowns, up-dos and heels Wednesday.

Seniors from this all-girls Catholic school in Syosset celebrated their prom on Wednesday at The Metropolitan in Glen Cove. For the occasion, students used to donning their school uniform had a chance to show off some individuality.

“It’s odd because it takes me a second to recognize everyone,” said the school’s history teacher, Marissa Breitinger. “They all look so grown up.”

Senior Charlotte Simone accessorized her off-the-shoulder black-and-red dress with bold lipstick and a pearl necklace.

“I went to the school half the time with my hair not even brushed, in a bun, and with no makeup,” she laughed. “When it comes to events, we really put it together. It’s nice to see everyone all dressed up for a change.”

Breanna Walsh, also a senior at Our Lady of Mercy, compared her sequined two-piece gown and heels to the school uniform.

“It’s less comfortable,” she said.

While Wednesday provided a chance to show off some style, it’s noted that school uniforms don’t necessarily quash individuality.  Senior Brittany Vonknsky talked about how she attempted to wear a different bow in her hair each day, even opting for festive-themed ones during holidays. The other day, juniors from Our Lady of Mercy Academy asked her how many bows she owns.

“I’ve lost count,” she said.

The bows, which were crafted by a cousin who recently graduated with an art degree from Adelphi, were not the only flair she added to her uniform.

The lanyard she wore around her neck to carry her school ID was galaxy-patterned and decorated with buttons representing her favorite bands, such as Vampire Weekend.

Our Lady of Mercy Academy’s president, Margaret Myhan, graduated from the school in 1970. She calls the uniform an “equalizer.”

“Everyone is perceived as the same,” Myhan said. “Nobody has a designer handbag or outfit on. It’s less pressure.”

Despite the students’ diverse prom attire, she believes they still share certain qualities with one another.

“They have a special beauty about them in terms of how they carry themselves,” she said. “They have confidence and they project that tonight.”

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