JOPLIN, Mo. - Joplin High School teacher Amber Travis knew this year's prom couldn't be like the other five she has helped plan.
Nine months after a tornado destroyed their high school, prom couldn't be a priority when it came to fundraising.
The senior class survived a tragedy, they grew closer, and Travis knew they needed a better way to end this school year. So she wrote a letter to national talk shows, big corporations, and the woman who answered in Kansas City.
"How could I not want to help?" said Melissa Blayton who gathered an army of volunteers to tell the senior class something very special Thursday as they filed into their cafeteria. It sits what used to be a Venture store because this year, they went to school at the local mall, unscathed by the storm.
The seniors had been wondering all day what was going to happen. They only knew they were finding out something about prom. That's when Travis' announcement got interrupted by a video with a familiar face.
"Hi Joplin seniors! I'm Katy Perry!"
The pop star gave words of encouragement and told them an ambush team was there to give them the prom of their dreams. Blayton brought up the people there who were making it happen. Fed Ex donated $2,500 and helped donate a corsage or boutonniere for each and every senior.
Megan Green from Rockhurst University helped gather donated prom dresses, more than 150, so each girl can pick out a dress new to them.
Senior boys can rent their tux for just $50 from the local Men's Wearhouse. A popular Joplin-area DJ, a photobooth company, a photographer, and event planner are all donating their services to make this prom a spectacular production.
For seniors like Yainer Oviedo, who's family lost everything, the help to pay for prom is a relief.
"Words can't express what it means to me, to us," Oviedo admits his senior class has a different stronger friendship and bond now after this school year. "It has been intense."
"It was meant to be," said Travis through tears. "It was just nice to give that to them before they left."
The volunteers still need donations from dresses to cash.
Look for the project Facebook page for ways you can donate.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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