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Memory cards with family photos found in pockets of donated grad dress in Lower Mainland

Grad dress was donated to Puttin’ on the Glitz
Do you know these people? This picture was on a memory card discovered in a pocket of a donated graduation dress. (Special to The News)

Two memory cards containing hundreds of pictures were discovered in the pockets of a graduation dress during this years Puttin’ on the Glitz in Maple Ridge.

The event is a two day affair where high school graduates who wouldn’t be able to afford the formal attire to attend their graduation festivities, are able to pick out their own gowns, suits, tuxedos, dress shoes, jewelry, and accessories – at no cost.

It is put on every year by PLEA Community Services Society.

Michelle Cherak, with PLEA, doesn’t know what the dress looked like that was tried on, or even if it was donated this year, because they keep dresses in storage from year to year. She only knows that it had pockets and when the person put their hands in the pockets, the cards were discovered.

A volunteer gave the cards to Cherak.

Cherak plugged the cards into a printer to have a look.

“I didn’t really look through all the photos that closely, I kind of just scanned through some of them,” said Cherak.

On one card she discovered more than 100 photographs – some are of a child’s birthday party and some are of a family on vacation in Mexico, and some, she said, look like a going away party at work. There were pictures were taken in front of Garibaldi Secondary School and also in front of Jim’s Pizza, along 224 Street, downtown Maple Ridge. On the other card there were around 30 photos.

The cards were found on Wednesday, March 16, the first day of the event. Cherak posted a photo to Facebook that night hoping to find the rightful owners, but to no avail.

Cherak is really hoping to find the owners of the photographs.

“I’m sure it is somebody from around here, especially because they donated their grad dress, obviously. So they graduated probably withing the past few years, from Garibaldi, I’m assuming, but I could be wrong,” she said.

Puttin’ on the Glitz was held at Thomas Haney secondary on Wednesday, March 16, and Thursday March 17, with setup on Tuesday March 15.

The event has been downscaled these past few years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, again, students came at allotted time slots to try on outfits. Before COVID there were hair and makeup artists and a photographer to capture the moment. However, this year they could only pick out their items and leave.

READ MORE: Puttin’ on the Glitz supports grads in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

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Despite restrictions, Cherak said, they helped more than 30 students this year.

Last year, Cherak said, they had less students because they were unsure if graduation was even going to take place. Numbers are on the rise again, she remarked.

“It went well. Every kid, I think, went away happy with an outfit,” she said. “I was happy about that.”

Cherak is not currently accepting donations as the event just wrapped up for the year. She is hoping donors can hold onto their formal wear until they start taking donations again in September/October.

Anyone with information about the owners of the memory cards can contact Cherak at

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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