In difficult economic times, students may sometimes have to temper aspirations about going to their high school prom, or even lower expectations about getting the supplies they need for school.
But in Menomonee Falls, Dee Dee Ternes has been volunteering countless hours to ensure all students – no matter their economic circumstances – can fulfill all their aspirations.
Ternes was awarded the Menomonee Falls School District’s “Friend of Education” award Monday in honor of her selfless commitment to children in the district.
Through her Pass It On Network, Ternes initiated the Project Prom Dress program to eliminate the financial obstacle some students face in order to go to one of the biggest dances of their young lives. Ternes organized donations for shoes, dresses, and accessories, and set up pick-up times for the families.
Ternes collected more than 250 dresses and girls got to choose their wardrobe off the rack before the big dance. However, the memories of the evening were the most important for those girls.
“I appreciate being honored in this way,” Ternes said. “I have a passion for the kinds and families in this district that are struggling. I feel very passionate about that and I feel that this is my calling.”
Ternes also organized a school supplies drive at the beginning of the year to provide the basic learning tools needy children require most. All district buildings and some area busineses served as drop-off points for supplies.
“With the economy the way it is, we have more people in our district that need help. You may be surprised by those that are in need. So we need to reach out and help these people in our communities.”
Each award recipient receives a framed, bus portrait created by a Falls third-grader. third-grader Leah Groholski was the artist for Ternes' award.