Hallie Hepler, a makeup artist at The Head Shop, puts makeup on Nikita Brown on Saturday at the Farmington salon before Brown and other students with
Hallie Hepler, a makeup artist at The Head Shop, puts makeup on Nikita Brown on Saturday at the Farmington salon before Brown and other students with disabilities attended Farmington High School's prom. (Megan Farmer/ The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — Matthew Walker, 19, tucked a disposable Kodak camera into the interior pocket of his suit before Farmington High School's prom Saturday night.

He said he planned on taking pictures for his scrapbook.

"I'll get 27 pictures," he said.

Saturday was the first time Walker has gone to a high school dance. He was accompanied by about half a dozen other students with disabilities from his Farmington High class to the dance at the Farmington Civic Center.

About a month ago, the student's teacher, Kymber Mordecki, started calling people around Farmington to make prom a possibility for the students. When she first shared the idea with her students, she said many didn't think they would be able to attend, partly because of the costs.

"When they realized that we were doing all this for them, it was all we could talk about for weeks," Mordecki said.

Clothing Revival donated dresses and shoes, and employees from The Head Shop styled the students' hair and did their makeup and nails. Zebediah's Restaurant donated dinner, and Farmington firefighters escorted the students to the dance. Hobby Lobby donated materials for the corsages.

Of the entire group, only Nikita Brown, 21, had attended prom before. But, she said, she wore a church dress and wasn't able to get her hair or nails done for the dance.

After learning the community would help pay for prom, Amber Dale, 17, went home and told her mother, Sharon Dale, the good news.

Sharon Dale said she was initially hesitant to have her only daughter attend prom because the cost is so expensive.

"It's just overwhelming," Sharon Dale said of the price.

But knowing the community was helping shoulder the cost was a relief for Sharon Dale, who accompanied her daughter to The Head Shop and watched her get ready.

Before this year, Amber Dale was homeschooled in Pennsylvania and never had a chance to go to prom. The teenager's mom said the idea of going to the dance made her daughter more happy than her family has ever seen her.

Janice Reynolds, left, and Francine Post, owners of The Head Shop in Farmington, assist Matthew Walker with his tie on Saturday before Farmington High
Janice Reynolds, left, and Francine Post, owners of The Head Shop in Farmington, assist Matthew Walker with his tie on Saturday before Farmington High School's prom. (Megan Farmer/ The Daily Times)

"She kept talking about it every day until today," Sharon Dale said.

With her hair styled, Amber Dale came out of a back room of The Head Shop in a long, light green dress.

"I'm excited that I'm having a good time with other people," she said.

For Mariah Hurd, 17, going to prom was her chance to attend "a royal ball."

"I get to make all the other girls jealous because I look like a princess," Hurd told Farmington firefighter Mark Mordecki.

Hurd's favorite Disney princess is Elsa, and she wanted to model her prom look after the character.

The employees at The Head Shop worked to make that vision come true. Donny Milam painted swirl patterns on Hurd's fingernails, which the teenager said resembled "Elsa's symbol of power."

"I feel like a fairy tale coming true," Hurd said.

Rebecca Dwyer, a stylist at the salon, braided Hurd's hair.

"I finally got to do an Elsa braid," she said afterward. "I think I'm just as excited as she is."

The Head Shop staff volunteered to do the girls' hair and makeup after hearing that Clothing Revival was donating clothes.

"We just love doing things like this," said Francine Posts, the salon's co-owner. "These kids are special, and they deserve a special night, too."

Post said she enjoyed seeing the reactions from students.

"What our kids take for granted, these kids are really excited about because they've never experienced (it)," she said.

Even the students' teacher, Kymber Mordecki, had her hair done and put on a dress for prom.

"I feel like kind of a bunch of sisters getting ready together," she said as she got her hair done for the dance. "I'm excited just to see them shine."

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.