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'100 dresses' play inspires real-life fundraiser by 5th graders


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SALT LAKE CITY -- "100 Dresses" is the title of a play about bullying.

But it's also the goal for a refugee project that students at Canyon Rim Academy reached and surpassed. The fifth graders there led their school in a refugee project. What no one anticipated was their success.

"The fifth grade has been doing a hundred dresses drive, and everyone in the school has been collecting dresses," said Nicole Strong, fifth grader.

"The fifth grade went around collecting them and people brought them in their classes and started counting them," said Chloe Hoff, fifth grader.

"I heard we had gotten over 200 and then I saw we had gotten over 300 and so, I was blown away," said Reed Stewart, fifth grader.

"For the refugees, so they can get dresses and clothes and they can also get other supplies by the help of our fifth graders," said Kasumu Trawally, fifth grade.

They collected not 100 but 308 dresses and delivered them to college students.

BYU presents 'The Hundred Dresses'
October 12-15 and 19-21
7 p.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturdays
Pardoe Theatre
$6 for adults, $4 for children
(801) 422-4322
byuarts.com/tickets

"We are proud and happy to present these dresses to BYU's Young Company who will present them to the Offices of Refugee Services," said Elektra Thomas, fifth grader.

The Young Company then performed "100 Dresses" about an immigrant who was so bullied her family moves away. Finally, her classmates learn a lesson.

"(It's about) what it means to be a citizen of America, a citizen of our community here, and how we can share respect and how we can kind of share love and support for everyone," said Katherine Williams Olsen, dramaturg, BYU's Young Company.

"We work a lot in our school on kindness and that this is a happy place and it's a place where people treat each other with respect, and that is exactly the message of the play," said Merry Fusselman, principal, Canyon Rim Academy.

The children said thank you for reminding them of the beauty of kindness. The BYU students will donate the dresses to Centro Hispano and Utah Refugee Services.

Email:cmikita@ksl.com.

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Carole Mikita

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