There’s a lot of activity going on at Cleburne High School involving the annual Junior-Senior Prom—at Ingleside High School.
Students and staff at CHS are busy raising funds to help with the IHS prom, in this latest “Side by Side with Ingleside” project, following Cleburne ISD’s partnership with Ingleside ISD and its campuses in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
A Prom Tree has been erected in the main office at CHS, featuring contribution tags priced at $10, $40 and $100 to assist Ingleside and its faculty prom planners, who are trying to keep admission costs down for students, in the face of additional expenses resulting from the storm.
Donations of new and kindly used prom dresses for Ingleside High School’s Cinderella Closet, and dress clothes for the guys are also being sought. The homes of many IHS students sustained major damage in the hurricane that hit their community, located 15 miles south of Corpus Christi.
Since September, Cleburne’s Side by Side with Ingleside projects have ranged from encouraging letters from students to their peers in Ingleside to donations of school supplies and replacement books for elementary classroom libraries. Gift cards were donated by CISD elementary teachers to help Ingleside staff members whose homes were damaged. More than $5,700 was raised by CISD campuses through student and staff donations, for allocation by the Ingleside Education Foundation to meet the needs of families in their community.
In November, students from Smith Middle School traveled to Ingleside to host an afterschool dance for their fellow students at Leon Taylor Junior High. Smith band students are scheduled to perform in a “Side by Side” concert with the Leon Taylor JH band during a trip to Corpus Christi in May.
“For us, it’s all about the kids, what we can do for the kids at Ingleside High School in helping with their prom,” CHS Junior Pride Sponsor Greg Funderburk said. “We are in prom mode like they are at Ingleside—both our proms will take place May 5. There’s a lot involved with that, but even more so for them.”
For a number of years, the IHS prom has been held at the Salt Water Pavilion in neighboring Rockport. Like many buildings and businesses, the venue was destroyed in the hurricane. Ingleside administrators and prom sponsors have spent months searching for a new location, which they report was quite a challenge as many venues are still under repair, have closed or are not available.
“The Texas State Aquarium was the only venue open on the date of our prom,” Ingleside HS teacher and Prom Advisor Stacy Ostrom said. “While that is a wonderful place to have an event, it is costing more. We will be using their event services, rather than doing the food and decorating ourselves and using staff and parent volunteers. “
“We are trying to keep our prom ticket prices the same as last year,” Ostrom said. “We have some kids who lost everything in the hurricane and we don’t want to add to that. What Cleburne High School is doing for us is really unexpected. We are so appreciative. It’s amazing the school and students would do this for us.”
Cleburne senior Sadie Hough said the opportunity to help with the Ingleside prom is making her last high school prom more memorable.
“Usually when something like this happens, people only think about the necessities and helping with the immediate needs,” Hough said. “After time, they think, ‘now they’re fine’ and lose interest. It’s cool we’re helping with their prom. For the girls, especially, it’s a special time. It warms my heart, to say the least, that we are doing this.”
In addition to their work to raise funds for the 2nd Annual CHS STinG Week, the CHS Student Council is assisting with the Ingleside Prom Project.
“We have already started raising money through Student Council,” President Katie Bicknell said. “Our prom is so memorable and we want theirs to be, too. I especially feel this way for the seniors--the hurricane wasn’t their fault. I feel our high school will come through for this. We just need to come together and help out. I think we’ll see a lot of $10 donations and those can add up.”
A delegation of Cleburne leadership students will visit Ingleside HS on April 30 to present a check from funds raised by the CHS Prom Tree, and deliver clothing donations.
Funderburk, who teaches advanced audio visual technology at CHS, will also be working with Ingleside staff in setting up video visits between the schools on prom night. Cleburne’s prom will have a disco theme, while Ingleside’s is “Moon Over the Caribbean.”
“We may use Google Hangouts or Skype to let both sets of students see what’s going on at each other’s proms,” Funderburk said. “We talk about the prom project all the time and it would be great for our kids to meet and connect. We’re excited to have a shared prom. This is great for our kids and we just want to help make the prom great for Ingleside High School.”
For more information on the CHS Prom Tree project, call 817-202-1200. Clothing donations may be dropped off at the CISD Central Offices, or call 817-202-1127.
Cleburne High School Principal Dr. Le’Ann Downs and senior Lacey Brown add contribution tags of $10, $40 and $100 to the CHS Prom Tree, which will assist Ingleside High School with their prom expenses. The high school’s prom project is the latest initiative in the “Side by Side with Ingleside” partnership established by CISD and its campuses to assist schools in the south Texas community damaged by Hurricane Harvey.