Always in Fashion: MHS Club Sisters on the Runway Has a Purpose

Some of the fashions at this year’s fashion show.

True to their name, Sisters on the Runway (SOR), a Montclair High School club focused on education and organizing events that benefit women and children affected by domestic violence, hosted their annual fashion show this past June. However, the active club, with a vibrant membership, held numerous events and meetings throughout the entire school year. Under the leadership of co-presidents Kelsey Balch and Hannah Bernstein, the club ran bake sales, a soccer tournament, attended a vigil in honor of those affected by domestic violence, had a workshop about recognizing the signs of unhealthy relationships, ran a poster contest, and finished the year with the annual fashion show which raised money for Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (S.O.F.I.A.).

Emphasizing the theme of education around domestic violence and intimate partner violence, the poster contest, held in April, was about spreading facts and encouragement to the community. Dozens of Sisters on the Runway club members planned and drew the posters during lunchtime club meetings. Not only did the club get to know each other better through this interactive project, but they all learned a lot about important domestic violence statistics. The posters were on display throughout Montclair High School for months, spreading awareness to the high school community.

The winning posters for 2022.

The three top posters were: 1) “Love is Respect” by Hannah Martin, Olivia Carr, Grace Carr, Cece Sherman, and Francesca Caldarella 2) “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” by Clio Marcus, Amber Werner, and Kelsey Balch, and 3) “Check in on Your Friends” by Natasha Halbfinger & Alexis Hamilton. All the posters created by club members were displayed during the fashion show as part of the runway show.

The club’s 2022 fashion show was the first since 2019, due to pandemic interruptions. The SOR leadership is deeply grateful to have been able to organize it this year, especially because so many club members participated and scores of community members came to watch and support. All proceeds from the show will be donated to Montclair’s own S.O.F.I.A. for operating and support expenses.

Some of the fashions at this year’s fashion show

The organizers are also grateful to the many local businesses that lent clothes for the fashion show: Barbara Eclectic, Nouvelle, One Savvy Consignment, Quincy Boutique, Dot Reeder, and the MHS Thrift Club. Rooftop Productions donated the runway, lighting, and audio production for the show, and Neil Ryan helped produce it.

No school club can even begin without a staff advisor to guide and support their cause. Sisters on the Runway is eternally grateful to Detective Sanders of the Montclair Police Department and a school resource officer at the high school, for her assistance. In addition, the leadership is shares thanks for the club members and school faculty members who have participated, supported, and boosted the club.

Club Fair 2021

Looking back on the year and their tenure as co-presidents of SOR, Kelsey Balch said, “Sisters on the Runway has been one of the best parts of my time at Montclair High School and I am so grateful for the experience.  Being president this year and getting to work more closely with S.O.F.I.A and the club members has deepened my connection with the cause. I am so proud of our work in spreading awareness and raising funds. I look forward to seeing what the club does in the future!” Hannah Bernstein added, “This year, SOR worked to spread awareness of domestic and dating violence throughout MHS and the greater Montclair community. I have loved being a co-president and can’t wait to see what more the club will accomplish in the future.”

from left to right: Natasha Halbfinger (secretary), Lexi Ryan (treasurer), Kelsey Balch (Co-President) & Hannah Bernstein (Co-President)

For more information about Sisters on the Runway and all the clubs at Montclair High School, check out these videos detailing some available MHS Clubs, stay tuned to this web page, and make sure to keep an eye out for the Montclair High School Club Fair in the fall.

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