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Enterprise students have prom with celebrities

ENTERPRISE (AP) — Just over a month after a tornado destroyed their school and killed eight of their classmates, Enterprise High students came together Thursday for one of the most ordinary of high school rituals — the senior prom.

But, like most other things in their lives lately, this prom was far from ordinary.

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray planned the menu and helped prepare dinner, and pop singer Mandy Moore was scheduled to make a surprise appearance at the end of the night to perform songs from her new album. Gov. Bob Riley also attended a pre-prom dinner and made an appearance at the dance.

The prom, held at Aviator's Landing at nearby Fort Rucker, was themed "Caught in a Moment." Photographs of seniors Jamie Vidensek and Michael Tompkins — two of the eight students killed when a March 1 tornado ripped through the school — lined the dance floor, The Dothan Eagle reported.

Seniors Kyle Dalton and his date, Kylie Piercy, told the newspaper they planned to spend their post-prom hours with Tompkins' family. His father is the youth pastor at their church. They said prom would be different without their friend.

"Mikey was a very outgoing guy. It's going to be hard without him," Dalton said. "But he is the kind of guy who would say, 'Go ahead, have fun.' He would want us to have fun."

Enterprise High students have had a lot of adjusting to do since the tornado hit. The school destroyed, classes have been held at Enterprise-Ozark Community College since they resumed March 14.

Senior Mitchell Baker, 17, told the Eagle that prom was bittersweet after the death of his friends.

"It makes it a little harder for me," Baker, 17, said. "I'm used to all of them being around."

The Food Network's "The Rachel Ray Show" paid for the prom and filmed it for an April 30 episode.

Earlier in the day, Ray appeared with Riley and Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell to greet students at a morning assembly at the Enterprise Civic Center.

The governor on Thursday signed into law a bill that appropriates $32 million to rebuild Hillcrest Elementary School and Enterprise High School. Riley also presented Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell with a $160,000 check in private donations raised through the governor's Emergency Relief Fund to help with disaster recovery in Enterprise.


Information from: The Dothan Eagle

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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