MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash. - Airy Lowery resigned herself to the fact that she wasn't going to the prom at Mountlake Terrace High this year, when she got an unexpected invitation.
“When he asked me I couldn’t believe it! And then when I got home I was like, what am I gonna do?” she said.
Airy is worried because her home is a group home. She's a foster child. What could be one of the highlights of her youth might not happen at all because it's too expensive. To her, it just doesn't seem fair.
“No girl should have to worry that you can't go to your prom because you don't have the money for a dress," she said.
This year the average price tag for the prom, nationwide, is almost $1,100, making it an impossible dream for a lot of kids.
Mountlake Terrace’s class of 2012, a class that spent its entire high school career in deep recession, is doing all it can to make sure prom night is a reality for everybody who wants to go.
The students held fundraisers, including a take-off on American Idol, that cut the cost of prom tickets for everybody from $50 to $40. It’s much appreciated at this school where nearly 1 out of every 3 students is considered low-income.
“The prom shouldn’t be an exclusive event,” said Mikaela Michalsen, who helped organize some of the fundraisers. “It should be open to everyone.”
“If I needed the help, I would hope that it would be there for me. Family should be there for each other,” said friend and partner Molly Martin.
Northwest Hair Academy is also offering to style the hair for girls from Terrace High for a $20 donation to charity.
Students have even gone so far as to collect donated dresses for girls who can't afford to buy one. They have about 15 donated from past prom-goers. So far, a handful of girls have taken the school up on the offer, including Airy, whose prom dream is finally coming true.
“Even though I'm struggling, prom night will be the night I'll be like everybody else,” she said, beaming. “I get to have a moment that I'll remember for the rest of my life.”