High school students at Lyons-Decatur Northeast School have forfeited parts of their prom, and are instead donating those funds to local veterans. After a decisive vote by students, the students decided to save money and take a school bus to their post prom festivities in Omaha, instead of a luxury charter bus. They’re also not receiving post prom prizes, which typically include electronics, toys and a variety of gadgets.
The students saved $2,500 and will be donating that to local veterans who are currently raising $65,000 to build a Veterans Memorial Plaza between the Community Center and the library in Lyons.
The school has been involved in hosting a variety of projects to help come up with the money for the memorial and when discussions of the post prom festivities began, students leaped at the opportunity to contribute even more.
“When we found out we could donate our prom stuff to the vets, we thought, ‘why not?’ We don’t need all of that materialistic stuff,” said senior Cameron Barry.
“These kids will never understand how much this means to us because we wanted the veterans to be recognized and with their help we’re doing that. So it means everything,” said Veteran Jerry Ludwig.
The school has programs where veterans often visit with the students, which ignited a connection between the students and war heroes. Students said it was a small sacrifice on their part to thank them for their service.
“These are people who have given up everything in their lives to service. And because of that, things are forever different for them,” says Barry. “What we’re doing isn’t a lot, but it feels like a lot because you see them talk about their memorial and how excited they get and it just makes feel all warm and fuzzy.”
Ludwig says he still remembers his prom and thinks the generosity of these students will make theirs even more memorable.
“What amazes me is that it’s a special night in your high school years and you want it to be the best possible. And these kids gave up $2,500 to give to veterans. Now that is quite amazing. And for teenagers to do this on their own – wow. You would think they wouldn’t have even thought about it,” said Ludwig.
The building of the memorial has begun, but will really take off sometime this summer after all the money is raised.