The Hay Springs High School junior and senior classes aren't going to pay for the usual niceties at this year's prom - and they don't want anyone else to pay for it, either.
Instead of using the $5,300 they had raised for a dinner, deejay and decorations, the students voted last week to donate the money to Haitian relief efforts.
We're just a small town, and we don't care about a fancy prom," said Trenton Kuhn, a junior at the high school, which has 65 students. "We just wanted to show people that we care."
As word of their generosity spread, a deejay offered his services and some in the town started organizing for a dinner. But the students are declining the offers, instead asking potential donors to contribute to a bank fund they opened.
"We are not spending a dime on prom," said Hay Springs Principal Alan Frank. "If anyone donates money to us for the prom, it will go directly to the bank fund.
"We are keeping it bare-bones. It may be mac and cheese and hot dogs and an iPod."
To take one step further; the students from the western Nebraska town of about 550 want to challenge other high schools to downsize their proms.
"They could give up their paper trees and send $20," Frank said. "We ask them to prioritize what is important."
Now I don't know about you, but I am choking back sobs as I write this. I've never met any of them, but I am so proud of those students, and so proud of the Nebraska spirit of generosity that their example embodies. If you want to find out more about the high school these wonderful kids call home, you can visit it here: http://www.hshawks.com/ The wikipedia entry on Hay Springs can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hay_Springs,_Nebraska
Do you have any contacts or influence over other high schools? Perhaps you know of some that would like to take up the Hay Springs on their challenge?
Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.