Storm forces cancellation of San Francisco high school's prom on yacht

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Students from San Francisco's Thurgood Marshall Academic High School spent the whole school year planning and fundraising to hold their prom on a yacht, only to have it canceled at the last minute because of a storm.

"Once we started setting sail to San Francisco it got crazy, the currents were just out of control," senior Lissett Lopez said.

On Saturday afternoon, Lopez boarded the prom boat in Alameda to set up her school's "Beauty and the Beast" themed party, but she said the wind, rain, and choppy waves made it anything but smooth sailing.

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"It was even hard to stand, we all just got really nauseous, it was just a terrible experience," Lopez said. "It was just a shame to see it not go through after all the hard work we've put in."

While the chartered yacht struggled to dock at McCovey Cove, students dressed in their prom best huddled under overhangs at the gates of Oracle Park to stay dry.

"It was super windy and super rainy and we were all just trying to kind of, like, survive and stay dry," sophomore Kenny Mei said. "We planned prom to be perfect and it was just ruined by the weather."

"We were screaming when we saw the boat because we were ready," exclaimed Darlin Canales, who was very excited for his first prom night. Canales saved up money and got the night off work to attend the boat party with his friends, who rented a limo for the night.

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But it was too dangerous for the boat to dock and set sail again with 125 students on board.
"The boat just came and left again," Canales said.

Thurgood Marshall Academic High School is in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood, an underserved part of the city.

"We come from a community that's already facing a lot of challenges and we just want our students to experience what every normal high schooler experiences, and they were ready for that last night," teacher Anne Ryan said.

Ryan helped the students coordinate prom and hopes they can still put on a party. "They looked so beautiful, they were all ready for a great party, and now we need to do it all over again, and they need some help," Ryan said.

School staff set up a GoFundMe page, to raise money for a makeup prom. The boat charter company is also trying to find another date for the party, but graduation is in less than three weeks.

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