A student tries on a donated prom dress, image via MSNBC.com
Community efforts were able to reinstall a sense of normalcy for Dade County High School students after two tornadoes left a path of destruction on April 27. Among the tragedy and disaster that was left to clean up, Dade students no longer had their senior prom to look forward to; or so they thought. A group called Rescue Prom stepped in and made prom possible for a group of students who needed to have some fun.
140 houses were damaged or destroyed and two community members were killed in the chaos on April 27. Students who were looking forward to prom lost their dresses as the local tailor shop was blown away by the storm.
Noting the importance of senior prom as a milestone in a young person’s life, Rescue Prom starting collecting donations from the community and from around the country. After creating a facebook page urging citizens to donate to the Dade County prom the group received more than one thousand dresses in less than one week. Hair and makeup services were also donated from businesses in nearby Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Students were overjoyed to hear that prom would go on. Many thought they wouldn’t make it through the tornado. “Oh God, this is my last moment because I thought I was going to die,” said Marcella Lackey, a Dade County student, as she recalled her experience during the turmoil. Another student, Delana Blevins, recounted a similar feeling when she told MSNBC “I’m not gonna lie. I thought it was the end.”
An overwhelming amount of damage has left this community in shambles, and community members know how much work needs to be done for repair. The prom served as a great distraction for teens dealing with post-tornado disaster and as a great reward for the generous help Dade teenagers have provided in the area.
“It’s been a great release for our kids, it’s been something they could look forward to, something to get their minds off the disaster,” said Dade County superintendent Patty Priest.