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Prom Goes On Despite Tornado

May 9, 1999

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Thanks in large part to benefactors at a rival high school, students were able to salvage their prom tonight even though many lost their homes and clothing to the deadly storms that swept through the state.

Wearing fashion finery donated by local shops and Edmond North High School students, the Del City High School couples arrived at prom hoping to cap a week of bad memories with good ones.

Teacher Alice Furstenau, a sponsor of the prom, said the Edmond North students who began the drive to collect formal wear for tornado victims made the occasion come together.

``They did everything from helping the girls pick out accessories to helping decorate for the prom,″ Ms. Furstenau said.

She said even though many Del City students lost their homes, she had 20 calls asking if the prom was still on.

``People just want to come see each other and make sure everyone is OK,″ Ms. Furstenau said.

For some students, the prom was the first time they have seen friends from school since the twister struck. Some cried and hugged each other as they encountered familiar faces whose fate they had not known until that moment.

Assistant Principal Alford Nichols said holding the prom despite the circumstances was the first step toward restoring normalcy.

``These kids are going to pick up and go on because they are survivors,″ he said.

Traci Harriman, 17, a junior, was wearing a black satin gown trimmed with silver sequins that she picked out from among the hundreds of dresses that were donated.

``My house is pretty much gone. I was so fortunate to have these girls help me, or I wouldn’t have been able to go to my prom,″ she said. ``I think they are angels.″

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