Storming Back: Casey ready to enjoy Lake promWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: Toledo Free Press will follow the Blank family of Millbury for one year as they rebuild their lives after the June 5 tornado destroyed their Main Street home.
Lake High School sophomore Casey Blank is looking forward to attending his first prom ever. He is also looking forward to eating a meal at a restaurant known for its hibachi-style dining and food-throwing chefs.
On April 29, Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi will provide dinner for 220 students as well as several staff members and chaperones. After dinner, students will walk to the nearby Hilton Inn at Levis Commons, which is hosting the dance in the main ballroom.
Nagoya owner Mel Ayers said his restaurant and the Hilton want to provide the students with an unforgettable experience, as well as a little bit of normalcy on what should always be a special day. Lake students lost their school to the June 5 tornado.
“Many of the families are feeling the personal financial effects of the disaster as well as the current economy,” Ayers said in an email. “Knowing that we need to continue supporting these kids long term, we reached out to the school last year with the idea of hosting prom and it was immediately embraced by the students, staff and the community.”
Junior Kayleigh Tomanski asked Casey to the prom, which is usually at a local banquet hall. Tickets only cost $10 per person this year as opposed to $50 because of the donated meal and ballroom. The $10 will go toward next year’s prom, according to Tammy Tapley, director of student activities.
“We are going as friends,” Kayleigh said about Casey. “We are just good friends. We were talking about it and I asked him.”
She is looking forward to trying Nagoya with her classmates. The dinner times will be staggered to accommodate the large group.
“We eat at 6 p.m. and then we will go to the dance and then we will probably go to after-prom,” Kayleigh said. “I haven’t ever been to Nagoya, so it is really exciting.”
After-prom will be at the Student Health and Activities Center at Owens instead of the high school where the activities were hosted last year.
Students attending prom will be allowed to leave school at 11 a.m. on the day of prom. Kayleigh’s hair appointment is at 2:30 p.m. She wants to look perfect in her black and gold dress. Casey is wearing white and gold.
But no matter how she looks, she knows what is important in life. Kayleigh remembers the night she learned about Casey losing his house to the tornado. She thinks it changed him for the better. And she is honored to be his date.
“He seems like the same guy. He always had that positive attitude through everything, but [the tornado] has made him stronger.”