Prom goes on for Texas teens affected by wildfire

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Associated Press

Posted on May 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Updated Sunday, May 18 at 1:05 PM

FRITCH, Texas (AP) — Some students in the Texas Panhandle who lost their homes and possessions in last week's wildfire partied at prom in donated dresses and tuxedos.

The Sanford-Fritch High School prom was held Saturday night as scheduled — less than a week after a wildfire burned about 4 square miles near Fritch.

About 225 homes were destroyed in the fire, which broke out last Sunday about 30 miles northeast of Amarillo, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. The fire likely will not be considered controlled or contained until sometime in the next week, forest service spokesman Troy Ducheneaux said.

More than 40 students in the Sanford-Fritch Independent School District lost their residences, including about a dozen youths planning to attend the annual junior-senior prom, Superintendent Jim McClellan said.

Several girls needed prom dresses and the community quickly responded as word spread mainly through social media, the administrator said.

"The prom dress thing is what's really gone crazy," McClellan said Saturday morning. "We needed four to five prom dresses and we now have a closet with more than 100."

Individuals and businesses also donated tuxedos and flowers for the prom-bound students who lost their homes, he said.

"The uniqueness of kids losing things, that has caused a difference. We're trying to get back to normalcy and business as usual as quickly as possible, from the school's point of view," McClellan said.

No school property was burned; the district has more than 800 students, he said.

A nonprofit organization called Connect Community Services, which was organized well before the wildfire ravaged land near the town with about 2,200 residents, will keep the leftover prom dresses and similar donations, McClelland said.

"Once we get all the prom dresses to the kids that need them, then they're going to set up a prom closet within that service, for future kids in need," McClelland said.

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