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Prom Brings Joy After Storms

It’s prom season for teens across the country, but for one high school in Pascagoula, Mississippi this teenage “rite of passage” was endangered. With the community recovering from Hurricane Katrina, there hasn’t been a lot of money for extras. But, as Reed Galin reports, a shipment of finery arrived just in time to for the dance.


(Locator:  Pascagoula, Mississippi)

Student: “That’s very cute.” 

It’s not a shop, in the usual sense. It’s the teacher’s lounge at Pascagoula High School. The prom dresses…

Student: “I’m looking for a cocktail sort of dress.”

And coats…

Student: “Stylish!” 

And accessories are here for the taking.

When people of Discovery United Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia heard students needed prom clothes, along with so much else, they collected and delivered 500 dresses.

Melissa Ellington/Student, Pascagoula High School: “And it helps out, too, because last thing I want to do is go spend, like, $300 on a dress and still have my house to worry about.”

They even sent cameras for pictures.

Kelly Long/Assistant Principal, Pascagoula High School:  “We’re going to send them along with a thank you book, to the Discovery United Methodist Church so that the community can look through and see the girls in their dresses.”

Student: “I love it.  And it’s strapless.”

Senior year is nothing like LeAnn Potter expected.

LeAnn Potter/Student, Pascagoula High School: “You feel like the world’s coming to an end, because you have so much on your mind.”

LeAnn now lives in a rented trailer 18 miles from school…and her previous life.

LeAnn Potter/Student, Pascagoula High School: “We made it this far – let’s have a celebration, let’s have a party.”

Half the 1,100 students in LeAnn’s school were displaced by Katrina. So for this senior class, a dress isn’t just a dress.  And the prom isn’t just a dance, this year.

LeAnn Potter/Student, Pascagoula High School:  “You actually realize, you know, after the hurricane you came to school, that’s all you had was your fellow classmates.”

And, Leann adds, the kindness of strangers. One of the things this senior class will always remember about the prom.


Discovery United Methodist Church isn’t stopping with the prom.  They are currently collecting Easter clothes to send to the people of Pascagoula. For more information, contact the church at 804-360-4442.

Also see: Virginia church saves prom for Mississippi students.

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