Little girls in frilly frocks and glittering tiaras reigned at Graves County Middle School on Saturday during the Princess Tea Party hosted by the school's Junior Beta Club.
Teacher and Junior Beta Club sponsor Kelly Locker said the event, which included two parties, raises money for the Ronald McDonald House in Louisville. The club held its first Princess Tea Party event last year and raised $2,000.
"We try to give the Ronald McDonald House $2,000 every year because that sponsors a room for a year at the house," Locker explained.
The Ronald McDonald House in Louisville provides a place for families of children receiving medical care to stay while the children are treated at Louisville-area hospitals. To raise money for the charity, reservations for the tea party were $25 for a child and an adult, plus $15 for additional siblings and $5 for additional adults.
Junior Beta Club member and eighth-grader Abby Sadler said it's important for her and her fellow club members to hold fundraisers like the tea party and engage in community service because it helps them learn how to better interact with their peers and the community as a whole. "It's important to me to feel like I am very involved in the community, and I feel like I help our community grow with fundraisers," Sadler said.
Fellow eighth-grader Nichole Taylor, who is president of the school's club, said it makes her feel great to know the club will be able to pay for a room at the Ronald McDonald House for a year because a family will have a place to stay "without the trouble or the stress of trying to come up with the money."
"Because if you need the services," Taylor added, "you already have stress on your hands. You don't need any more. So, it makes me feel good that we can do that."
Locker said the Junior Beta Club members worked hard to plan and decorate this year's Princess Tea Party, at which girls ages 11 and younger enjoyed a meet and greet and dancing with princesses and a prince charming - played by Graves County High School students who are former Junior Beta Club members.
Taylor said all the hard work she and her classmates put into the event was worth it because "all these little kids look so happy, and it's for a good cause."
Attendees also enjoyed "tea" - actually juice or milk - and cupcakes prepared by the Farmington Homemakers Club, nail painting, face painting and crafts.
Clara Beth Jones, who turns 4 today, said meeting the princesses was her favorite part of the tea party. Clara Beth's mother, Alison Jones, said she brought her daughter to the tea party last year as well.
Jones, who recalled that Clara Beth's favorite part of last year's party was the cupcakes, said the tea party made for a great birthday present for her daughter and plans to take her again if the school holds the event next year.
Locker said Jones and other local families will likely have that option.
"We're planning on doing this as long as people will come to it," Locker said.
Contact Leanne Fuller, a Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.