Students pledge prom money to Kenyan school

February 23, 2010 7:07:13 PM PST
Students at Cupertino High School are in a tight race to win a nationwide contest. The grand prize is a lavish senior prom, but the students have a much bigger goal in mind.

Students from Cupertino High School are redefining what it means to win. Theirs is a competition with compassion.

"I think the senior class of 2010 really deserves to win this because of Kenya Dream," sophomore Al Hassani said.

Kenya Dream is a class project that has become so much more. Three years ago, the students adopted a school in Kenya.

"We want to raise $100,000 for the Nthimbiri Secondary School in Kenya," Kenya Dream organizer Justin Li said.

The teenagers have promoted their dream with t-shirts, buttons, brochures and numerous fundraising events.

"Even in [the] middle school everyone has heard about it because it's such a school wide project," Kenya Dream supporter Julia Seaton said.

Now the Kenya Dream project is featured in Cupertino's entry into a 60-second video competition called the Dell SuperProm. The grand prize is the ultimate prom.

More than 100 schools are vying for the top prize. Cupertino is running neck and neck with a high school in Minnesota. There are other, slicker productions in the race to win, but online voters are embracing Cupertino's message of helping others.

"People across the nation are really voting for us and it's this huge ripple effect," Kenya Dream organizer Olivia Drake said.

Winning the Dell SuperProm is really a means to an end. A win means all of the prom's costs are covered, so all the money from ticket sales goes directly to the Kenya Dream fund.

So far the students have raised $50,000 and they have big dreams for reaching their final goal.

"If we do win, we can get Kenya Dream to the national level and can even get Dell to potentially sponsor us," Kenya Dream Co-President Nithin Jilla said.

Anyone can vote, but only once every 24 hours. At Cupertino, it is not about the prom.

"We want to change the world; we want to make it a better place and we realize that, hey, we are only high school students, but we can make a difference," student body President Daniel Cao said.

Voting ends Feb. 28.