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Fit for a queen

By Staff
Fashion show honors late PC senior
Kim West
PHIL CAMPBELL – Shelby Grissom's classmates have found a fitting way to keep her memory alive.
Phil Campbell High School held its first annual prom fashion show Jan. 30 in honor of Grissom, an 18-year-old senior who passed away in November from a chronic illness.
The show featured 28 girls, who modeled prom dresses, and eight boys, who served as escorts and wore tuxedos. FCCLA and family and consumer science students co-sponsored the show with Unique Apparel and Oliver Corner and raised nearly $3,000 from ticket, T-shirt and armband sales and donations at the gate.
"(Oliver Corner owner) Sandra Oliver had approached me about doing a prom fashion show when I got this job last year," said Amy Gunderman, family and consumer sciences teacher and FCCLA sponsor. "I thought it would be a good idea to have it as a fundraiser because Shelby loved fashion.
"A lot of these kids had never done anything like this before, and some of the girls had never had a dress on before this show, so it was a good learning experience."
Part of the show's proceeds benefited the Shelby Lynn Grissom Memorial Scholarship Foundation, while the other money raised will go towards community service projects supported by the school's chapter of Family, Community and Career Leaders of America.
"We made over $1,000 from T-shirt sales, and 100 percent of it went to the foundation. We took donations at the door, and we had one person who donated $500, which went directly to the scholarship fund. We made $1,175 at the gate, which will be split halfway between the scholarship and fund and FCCLA."
Gunderman said FCCLA students will use the money for three projects this year.
"The FCCLA students voted to divide the money three ways," she said. "We're going to donate to 'Feed the Children,' which is a national FCCLA project and give money to the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. The third part will go to the Birmingham Children's Hospital.
"Shelby was in that hospital, and the students wanted to donate in memory of her and fund activities for the children there."
Sarah Johnson, a senior and FCCLA president, said Grissom, who was chosen as class favorite, student council president and homecoming queen by her classmates, had a sweet personality.
"Shelby was always a lot of fun and really sweet," said Johnson, who first met Grissom in kindergarten. "And she always looked really nice – some of her friends said she didn't really like dressing up a lot, but she always made sure she dressed up for school."
Johnson said the prom show was able to raise money because it offered something different than the typical school fundraisers.
"I think it was a very successful fundraiser because it was different – you weren't being asked to buy something like a box of doughnuts," she said. "And it gave everyone a chance to see the dresses and tuxes from Oliver Corner."
Yolanda Odom, an English teacher at Phil Campbell and Grissom's aunt, said donations will be administered through an endowed foundation Northwest-Shoals Community College. The $1,000 annual scholarship will be awarded each spring to a graduating Phil Campbell senior beginning this year.
"We wanted to make sure the scholarship becomes endowed, which means we have to raise $10,000 (initially)," Odom said. "Once we raise the $10,000 lump sum, that will guarantee that every year the (interest) money will be there so we can award the scholarship.
Odom said the scholarship was started through a combined effort from her family and the Phil Campbell community.
"After Shelby passed away, several members of the community came up with the idea for the scholarship, and everyone – especially the kids here – have been wonderful," she said. "Shelby was such a sweet and special person, and she had an innocence about her – she didn't talk about other people, and she didn't want other people to do that, either – and she was the kind of person who thought about other people first.
"We're never going to forget her, but she always wanted to do something for others, and I think this scholarship allows her to continue to help people."