If someone in the family is heading to Andover High School's prom this Saturday night, the excitement has most likely been building for weeks.
Tuxedo rentals for the guys; dresses, hair and nail salon appointments for the girls; and reserving seats on the free coach buses to Castleton in Windham, N.H., which is the prom venue on May 18.
The buses are no extra cost to students, rather school officials added the buses to make planning easier and to ensure student safety, according to the school's newsletter.
Seventeen-year-old Jenna Weber is a typical prom-going AHS junior, except her heart of gold stands out on her prom essentials list.
Jenna teamed up with her friend Chloe Smith, also of Andover, who attends the Academy at Penguin Hall in Wenham, and surprised a teen girl living at Lazarus House, a shelter in Lawrence, who wanted to go to the prom but simply could not afford it. After all, a single AHS prom ticket costs $100 and all the other costs add up quickly.
"They sprung into action and created a prom essentials gift basket filled with all the things a girl needs to prepare for her prom - bronzer, eyeliner, mascara, nail polish, lip gloss and jewelry to match her dress that was also gifted," said Danielle Tjalsma, director of Communications, Lazarus House Ministries.
“When a high school senior is welcomed into our shelter due to traumatic and unfortunate life circumstances, the generosity of our donors and supporters becomes beautifully apparent. Chloe and Jenna heard of a need, asked appropriate questions, and jumped into action. They gifted our guest in this surprising and practical and caring way. Kudos to the girls for big hearts and quick action.”
Jenna said her mother, Taisha Weber, volunteers at Lazarus House and told Jenna about the disappointed teen at the shelter. And, this trio is making sure that disappointed teen will be smiling on Saturday.
Taisha Weber helped to get the prom dress, sent a photo to her daughter and Jenna hit a mall with Chloe to get matching shoes.
"Then we went to CVS for the makeup and put everything in a basket," Jenna said. "It was so much fun."
Jenna said she is inspired by her mother's generous spirit while Tjalsama said their prom generosity has spread to another women's program at Lazarus House.
"They decided that all the women in our transitional program would love a pampering basket and lovingly shopped for a collection of pampering items for each guest," Tjalsama said.
And, now, Jenna has learned that disappointed-turned-smiling teen is going to the AHS prom.
"I can't wait to see her. It's going to be amazing," she said.