Posted Online: April 09, 2010, 8:20 pm

Oh, so pretty: Augie students help girls prepare for Spring Fling

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By Lindsay Hocker,

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Stephanie Makosky
Augustana College Communication Disorders and Sciences major Colleen Hickey curls Abbi Burns', 12, of East Moline, hair Friday afternoon at the Augustana Speech, Language, and Hearing Center. The center put on a free dance for clinic clients and their siblings as an opportunity for pre-teen and teenage clients to get together and socialize.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Stephanie Makosky
Caitlyn Milefchik, 11, of Rock Island, gets her nails painted blue by Augustana College Communication Sciences and Disorders major Katrina Jensen Friday afternoon at the Augustana Speech, Language and Hearing Center. Program majors pampered clinic clients and their siblings by doing their nails, hair and makeup before attending a free dance at the Carriage House. "I feel excited because I never do it," Caitlyn said about getting dolled up.
ROCK ISLAND -- Sitting in a clinic room at the Augustana Speech, Language, and Hearing Center, client Marcie McPherson smiled as an Augie student painted her nails lime green.

The 19-year-old's hair was in spirals, with Marcie sharing that it is only curled on special occasions. Once her polish dried, she changed into a dress and was ready for the center's first Spring Fling -- a special occasion not only for her but about 40 other teens and pre-teens.

"I think it really gives them a chance to enjoy themselves," said Jill Reynolds, a center supervisor and speech language pathologist. The center has a holiday party for the younger clinic clients, she said. The dance seemed like a great idea for the older youth, letting them socialize with others who also have speech and language disorders in a fun environment.

Suzanne Hoke, of Milan, said her daughter, Rachael Sandhaas-Hoke, 10, had really looked forward to the dance.

"That's all we've heard about since we signed up for it two weeks ago," Ms. Hoke said. "This is her first dance."

Before the dance, about 15 girls had their hair, nails and makeup done by students. Lindy Breuer, a Communication Sciences and Disorders junior, supervised the salon. She said, except for makeup, the Augie students were using their own beauty supplies to "keep it inexpensive, but so they could still feel beautiful."

In the nail room, dozens of polish shades were lined up on a table, letting the girls pick a favorite. One room down, girls instructed volunteers on how to style their locks with hair curlers, straighteners, bobby pins and bows.

Following the pampering session, the girls waited in the lobby before heading as a group to Augie's Carriage House in a parade of satin, glitter and rhinestones. The Carriage House contained bunches of balloons and metallic streamers, as well as a DJ, a spot to have photos taken and a refreshment table loaded with punch, pop and cookies.

Jenna Didier, a Communication Sciences and Disorders junior who helped organize the event, said the center hopes the dance becomes an annual event. She noted that, for the clinic clients, being with peers and siblings made the event easier socially than attending school functions.

"This way, there's no judging," Ms. Didier said.