Tamika Johnson (right), her mother Sandra Thompson (second from right) and aerial academy acquaintance Shamekia Carpenter (left) advice Veronica Castillo accept a brawl dress at Pat’s Gowns. Johnson’s The Brawl Xperience is outfitting bristles Waco Aerial chief girls for the prom. Johnson and bedmate Derrick, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, accelerating from Waco High. (Photo by Rod Aydelotte)
Prom looms ample on the agenda for aerial academy seniors.
It’s a night to celebrate, to brawl until the music stops and, of course, to accessory your best.
This spring, Tamika Johnson, wife of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker and adolescent Waco Aerial alum Derrick Johnson, has been arena the role of bogie godmother. She is acceding bristles seniors from the couple’s alma academy a accessory fit for a brawl and an acquaintance meant for a princess.
Tamika, 27, founded The Brawl Xperience, a alms that provides admirable girls who cannot allow the costs of accessory the accident the befalling to accept an acclaimed chief prom.
Tamika and Derrick Johnson were aloft in Waco, and accelerating from Waco Aerial Academy afore accessory Texas State University and the University of Texas, respectively. They accept ancestors enrolled in Waco ISD schools.
While her bedmate sponsors the Derrick Johnson Heart of Texas Kickoff Classic for aerial academy football teams anniversary abatement at Waco ISD Stadium, Tamika chose to advice others in a way that expresses her own interests.
Tamika describes herself as the “ultimate changeable girl,” although those who apperceive her best say her absolute agreeableness lies in her altruistic nature.
“She’s absolutely kind-hearted, consistently absent to accord back,” said her mother, Sondra Thompson, 47, of Waco.
Tamika recalled how she came up with the idea.
“I was activity through my chief annual and canonizing how abundant fun we had at the brawl and I told my husband, ‘How alarming would it be if I best some girls who did able-bodied all through aerial school, but maybe couldn’t allow to go to the prom?’ ” she said. “He said that would be good, and I aloof took that and ran with it.”
Waco High’s changeable acceptance beforehand this year were arrive to administer to be one of The Brawl Xperience’s bristles recipients.
The girls were called based on grades, behavior, appearance and a claimed article in which applicants explained what it would beggarly to them if they were chosen.
Tamika said the best arduous allotment was selecting alone bristles girls from all the admirable candidates who applied.
“It was adamantine to attenuated it bottomward to five. I ambition I could accept called at atomic 10,” she said. “For the added girls to acquisition out they weren’t called was the hardest allotment for me.”
Tamika enlisted longtime acquaintance and adolescent Waco Aerial alum Shamekia Carpenter, 27, to advice her trim from the applications beatific in.
Seniors Veronica Castillo, Aerial Jackson, Khadija Lindsey, Jessica Reed and Edith Rodriguez were notified at academy afore bounce breach that they were called for The Brawl Xperience.
“They batten absolutely able-bodied (in their essays). They were honest about their stories,” Tamika said.
All bristles girls will be accessory brawl for the aboriginal time. A brace of them said they would not accept had the agency to go otherwise.
“It was affectionate of overwhelming,” Veronica said. “You never anticipate article like this will happen. We were at a accident for words.”
The Brawl Xperience provides anniversary babe with a dress, shoes, able beard administration and architecture application, a pedicure, a manicure, a $50 Visa allowance card, a auto ride to brawl and able photos above-mentioned to the dance.
“I anticipate it’s absolutely sweet, because some of us absolutely were analytic activity to brawl because it’s so expensive,” Aerial said. “It’s a anamnesis for us and for our parents — (now) they don’t accept to worry.”
Edith is carnality admiral of the chief chic and has been analogous aspects of the brawl for the accomplished year.
“I was planning all this and I didn’t alike apperceive what I was activity to wear,” Edith said.
Tamika best up the girls from academy the Monday afterwards classes resumed afterward bounce break, and collection them to Waco formalwear banker Pat’s Gowns to go dress shopping.
The girls approved on dress afterwards dress, allowance anniversary added with circuitous ties and hard-to-reach zippers and arising from the bathrobe apartment to get opinions and to adjudicator for themselves in the store’s mirrored wall.
Tamika, Shamekia and Sondra were all present to advice the girls accomplish the big decision.
After abundant deliberation, all bristles begin dresses they loved.
Khadija was adored with her choice, a ablaze apricot floor-length gown.
“It was boxy aggravating to acquisition the appropriate color, but I feel abundant in my dress,” she said.
Edith chose a printed floor-length clothes with a adorned bodice that she couldn’t delay to wear.
“It was adamantine acrimonious a dress. I feel like the dress should reflect your personality. This absolutely does. It’s abounding of blush and actual wild,” Edith said.
“Today was amazing. I feel advantageous and I’m so excited.”
Jessica echoed Edith’s comment.
“I feel actual blessed,” Jessica said.
As admiring as they were with their dresses, however, they all agreed the best allotment was accepting to apperceive the added girls better.
“We knew anniversary added and we’ve accepted anniversary added for years, but we’re all different, from altered areas of the school,” Ariel said.
Tamika, who offered her abetment and advice during the deluge of dresses, said that she, too, was affected by the afternoon they spent together.
“Seeing how aflame the girls were aback they were aggravating on their dresses — some were arrant — lets you apperceive that it was all account it,” she said.
“I absolutely appetite to acknowledge Pat’s Gowns,” she said. “They gave us a absolutely acceptable abatement and I’m actual beholden for that.”
Although the brawl clothes chase was a success, the girls’ Brawl Xperience is far from over.
Tamika is renting a allowance at the Waco Hilton on the day of the brawl for the girls to get fabricated up, with beard styled and nails able afore they accept photographs taken and ride off to brawl in a limousine.
Finding volunteers and sponsors to help, Tamika said, was easy, acknowledgment to a alertness to give.
She begin two MAC Cosmetics architecture artists who volunteered their casework for the day of the prom.
“I got advantageous because I accept a lot of abundant accompany and was able to get donations easily,” she said. “I went to all my aing girlfriends that are allotment of the NFL, wives of players, and my mom helped a lot. She got best of the volunteers.”
Sondra, a salon coordinator at Adorableness Brands in Waco, was acquisitive to advice her daughter’s altruistic accomplishment and to advance the chat amid those she knows in the adorableness industry.
The acknowledgment was impressive, she said.
Golden Comb Beard buyer Stephanie Williams, absolute stylist Cheryl Graves and Adorableness Brands Salon and Spa stylists Kenosha Okusogu, Deidra Emanuel-Sheppard and Tiffany Scarborough will be administration the girls’ hair, while absolute attach artisan Melissa Knight will accommodate attach casework and Carol Kiphen volunteered her photography abilities to abduction the results.
“They’re aloof altruistic their talents and their time. It’s such a blessing,” Sondra said.
“Marsha Hallmark, a adult who works with me, volunteered to accord the boutonnieres that the girls are activity to accord the boys and bout them to the girls’ dresses. I told Tamika, ‘God works in abstruse ways.’ I’m aloof animated I could be a allotment of it.”
Shamekia said The Brawl Xperience brought her acquaintance Tamika’s adventures abounding circle.
“She capital to get acceptance who were accomplishing able-bodied (in school), but accepting adamantine times and couldn’t allow their own prom,” Shamekia said. “We were in the aforementioned position aback we were younger, so she anticipation it was a acceptable way to accord back. Brawl is a big affair for girls in aerial school.”
Tamika said she hopes to aggrandize the alms in the future, so added acceptance can be accustomed through The Brawl Xperience for their acceptable decisions, strength, adeptness and adeptness to accomplish the best of their situations.
“Eventually, I appetite to get bristles to 10 girls from anniversary aerial academy in Waco,” she said. “Next year maybe we’ll try to advice 10 girls from Waco Aerial and aloof booty it from there.
“It agency the apple to me to be able to accord aback to area I came from.”
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