Alternative Prom with a Purpose

I love prom time. Every Spring, my husband and I will be out to dinner and we'll catch a glimpse of nervous guys decked out in tuxes and girls in sparkly dresses playing grown-up for the night.

It's been a while since my prom. About 20 years ago, actually. And I don't remember how much my dress was, but I'm sure it was a wad of cash for my folks. But I just read on MSN that Your Prom magazine said its poll of national readers, found the average price tag was over $1,000, with boys spending $545 and girls $530.


That's why I loved reading about a private school who decided to do things a little differently this year. Called Prom With A Purpose,it is the brainchild of senior Andrews Steel, who conceived the idea sometime in August after learning his biology teacher, Ann Schmitz, had been diagnosed with leukemia.
“She was always very personable,” said Steel, 18. “You could tell she had a genuine interest in every one of us.”
Prom With A Purpose, Steel thought, was a good way for the community to not just help Schmitz, but to also support the work of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
With backing from the senior adviser and Bible teacher David McBride, he forged forward, turning Friday night’s prom into a benefit in Schmitz’s honor.

“I was a little apprehensive at first because I knew it was a big undertaking,” said Steel just days before the big event.

McBride was particularly excited that the effort provided a practical way for Whitefield’s students to fulfill the school’s mission.

“The fact that it involved sacrifice, giving up something to benefit someone else is encouraging,” McBride said.

It also fits with the school’s mission statement for seniors to graduate "with a passion for learning, for others ahead of self, and for the living and active Jesus.”
Weeks before the event, students, alumni and parents set up a consignment store on campus, where students could purchase dresses and accessories at deep discount prices.
Instead of paying for an expensive venue, the class opted to hold the prom at the Lodge, a facility of Peachtree Presbyterian Church, which charged them what they would’ve paid for decorations.

And by Monday, the class had sold some 60 tickets -- $40 for singles, $80 for couples.
Instead of renting stretch limousines, many drove their own cars. And instead of dining at expensive restaurants, they enjoyed dinner at the homes of fellow students.
Proceeds from the ticket sales and student donations will go toward the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and help defray Schmitz's medical costs.

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