"A good education cannot be given a price. It is an opportunity that you must seize no matter the challenges that face you. I believe that there is no greater accomplishment than the accomplishment of pushing yourself to reach your dreams." - Catie Bisson

ANDOVER - "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" On March 3, more than 400 magical guests who attended the eighth annual Catie's Closet Gala were the fairest of them all. This enchanted evening was themed "Mirror, Mirror, A night To Open Doors," at Andover Country Club.

The compassionate and supportive guests came together to pay tribute and keep the young, empathetic Catie Bisson's memory alive. Catie passed at the young age of 20 due to a connective tissue disorder.

John and Linda Chemaly of Chelmsford
John and Linda Chemaly of Chelmsford

In the Trumpeter's Room during the cocktail hour, glamorous guests, lavishly dressed to the nines, sipped a complimentary bubbly of Champagne and Chambord, garnished with a humongous black raspberry, while feeling toasty by the warm fireplace. Throughout the room were black-and-white, life-size posters of children of all ages who were dressed shabbily and unkempt. The posters depicted how the children felt - whether depressed, angry or sad - because they were either bullied, felt ugly or didn't have a home, clothes or food.


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So extremely heartbreaking to see!

Upon entering the exquisitely decorated grand ballroom, a vibrant beam of light shined over the posters of the children and young adults - only now they were beautifully transformed, dressed adorably and well-groomed and, most importantly, with a sparkle in their eyes and the biggest smiles on their face, all thanks to Catie's Closet!

An array of quaint mirrors, themed were cleverly and meticulously placed throughout, with hand-written messages on each - even in the ladies' room mirror - all sending positive vibes of inspiration, love and hope.

Catie's Closet opened its first closet at Lowell High School. Catie's alma mater, in May 2010. The mission of Catie's Closet, is to improve school attendance by providing clothing and toiletries to children in need right within their schools. Today, Catie's Closet can be found in 50 schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, serving more than 32,000 students from grades pre-kindergarten through high school.

This single event raised an amazing $170,000, and Catie's Closet continues to inspire and champion children while helping them build self-esteem so they can stay in school to pursue a brighter future.

For more information, visit www.catiescloset.org.