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Cupertino High wins $100,000 prom contest

March 8, 2010 7:36:34 PM PST
If you need to feel good today, be inspired or have hope, a visit to Cupertino High School would give you a dose of all three. There was a special assembly in the gym complete with band music, cheerleaders and 1,700 screaming students. A representative from Dell Computer gave the students the news that sent them into a frenzy of hugging, laughing and crying.

The class of 2010 won the nationwide Dell SuperProm contest with their 60-second video entry and more online votes than any of the other 130 high schools vying for the top prize. ASB president Daniel Cao said "I can't believe it. I'm overcome with emotion and really, I am at a loss for words."

The grand prize is a $100,000 prom of their dreams. If the chanting had been about winning a free prom, the story would end here and maybe you would feel good that a Bay Area school beat out the competition from across the country. But the noise had little to do with a fabulous night to cap a four- year high school journey. Before Dell Computer crowned the senior class the competition champs, the chorus from the bleachers was "Kenya Dream." The jubilation was about helping a school half a world away. Senior Olivia Drake says "This was always about reaching out and helping people in a community that are not as fortunate as us."

Four years ago Cupertino's class of 2010 adopted a school in Meru, Kenya and called the class project "Kenya Dream." The fundraising efforts for the school started small, with t-shirts, buttons and approaching the local Rotary Club. Then came the Dell Superprom contest and the students saw an opportunity to take their dream to another level.

Cupertino High School made their video entry about helping a group of students they had never met and donating money to rebuild the Nthimbiri Secondary School. With Dell Computer covering the costs of the senior prom, all the money raised from ticket sales will now be donated to the students and school in Kenya.

Dell Computer representative Michael Ceparano said, "It was impressive how kids in the heart of Silicon Valley used social networking to spread their message and generate enthusiasm for their cause. What is more impressive is that these kids have a powerful message about helping others."

Winning had a different feeling today. The emotions in the gym were all about a four-year effort of compassion and generosity coming to fruition. It was about teenagers looking beyond themselves and making a difference in the world before they even graduate.

Justin Li is the senior who spearheaded the idea of "Kenya Dream." When Dell made the announcement, his classmates hoisted him up onto their shoulders like a hero. He is and so are they.

We'll have a full report tonight on ABC7 News at 6


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