IWHS Student Organizes First IWHS Boutique Project

April 12, 2024

high school studentThe mission of Incarnate Word High School (IWHS) is to prepare confident young women dedicated to a community of faith, compassion, integrity, service, stewardship and academic excellence. Sofia Medrano, IWHS sophomore, is a prime example of how this mission is embodied by the IWHS student body.

Medrano recently organized the first ever IWHS Boutique Project, a clothing drive that collected donations of gently used dresses, shoes, handbags, jewelry and other accessories from local communities. The donations were brought to Lanier High School for a pop-up event that welcomed junior and senior students to find the perfect outfit for prom or graduation at no cost to them.

clothing driveMedrano’s main inspiration for this project came from her cousin Bernice who works for the Edgewood Independent School District. Bernice has her own closet where she gathers clothing items for students in need of them. Medrano recalls a story of when her cousin was able to offer a dress shirt and tie to a student to wear at his graduation ceremony. That small moment inspired her to create a similar positive impact.

“My hope for this project was that we would make these young ladies happy,” shared Medrano.

Putting on such an event required support from her own community. She pitched the idea to Dora Calderon, IWHS enrollment specialist and advisor of the school’s sewing club, hoping to gain some support and advisement. Calderon was immediately excited about the idea and eager to sponsor the project.

“It has been my honor and pleasure to be the sponsor of this thoughtful mission,” expressed Calderon. “As a 1976 alumna of IWHS, I am so proud of Sofia. She truly embodies the spirit of an Incarnate Word student. Being a part of this with Sofia is a memory that I will never forget.”

student in dressWith the help of Medrano’s family and the IWHS community, news about the project began to spread by word of mouth and through social media. At the project's conclusion, Medrano and those who helped her collected 300 dresses, shoes and jewelry items. Friends, counselors and family members then helped organize the boutique at Lanier High School, with the beautiful, donated items on display for the school’s students.

“We had to rent a large van to transport all the dresses and racks to Lanier,” recalled Calderon. “We set up the foyer of the Lanier auditorium to look like a dress shop with dressing rooms and mirrors. If a girl fell in love with a dress, we would take a picture of her with a sign that said ‘I said Yes to the Dress’. I would ask each one if they felt beautiful, and that was the entire point of this event and Sofia’s dream: to make a young girl feel beautiful and special.”

Medrano shared that she and those involved in the project were able to rehome at least 100 dresses. “Seeing all the smiles was my favorite part of the event,” she reflected. “It felt amazing getting to see these girls in these dresses that made them feel so beautiful.”

Medrano hopes to continue and expand the IWHS Boutique Project in the future. Next time, she wants to offer men’s formal wear in addition to women’s formal wear, and she hopes to host the project at a different school.