Arise Academy seniors get ready for prom, graduation

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May is prom month at high schools throughout the region, but the cost of attending the big event can be a huge obstacle for some students.

But there is one Philadelphia High School, where everything needed for the prom is free, donated by dozens of local businesses.

The students were preparing to attend their j and senior prom at Arise Academy Charter High School in Center City.

It's the country's first charter high school dedicated entirely to students from foster care.

Students at Arise Academy were selecting their prom attire at the school's "Prom Shop" Wednesday afternoon with no worries about the price tag.

Dozens of businesses and volunteers have donated everything they need for their big night.

David's Bridal donated all the gowns, shoes, and other accessories.

"Every girl loves their accessories, and we at David's Bridal like to provide the whole package," said Liz Rocky.

Senior Victoria Fullen chose a unique olive-colored, pick-up gown with rhinestone jewelry, a tiara, and a sheer, sequined shawl to complete her look.

She is thrilled to be attending her first prom.

"It's my senior prom, so first and last, I have to do it big this year," said Victoria.

For her first prom, Brittany Palmer selected a pool blue organza multi-tiered gown, with satin ruched waistband.

Mayor Nutter and his wife crowned the King and Queen at last year's prom.

"This year, we have Coach David Culley and his wife from the Philadelphia Eagles," said Rocky.

Two first year Arise Academy alumni were on the red carpet last year, and were invited back this year.

Derrick Pough decided on an all-over white tux with mandarin collar.

Alumnus, Corneilus Lincoln added a touch of color.

"Yes, real men wear pink," said Lincoln.

"I'm so proud to be a part of this," said Wendy Stupp from the Prom Shop. "When you walk the red carpet and see these kids on the red carpet, and some of them have never been dressed up before, it is the best thing in the world."

Arise Academy's Prom will be held Thursday night at the African American Museum, which donated the space.

Men's Warehouse donated the tuxedos, All Around Entertainment, the music, and Clay's Bakery, Neiman's and Saks are all involved in this special night to replace memories that aren't so happy with wonderful ones.

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