School security guard launches fundraiser for city-wide prom

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- With schools shut down, that means important events, such as prom or graduation, are either canceled or postponed. Now, a local community member is stepping in to make a difference for graduating seniors.

One school security guard decided to step in to bring back the night some students look forward to for years.

Edward Mitchell, known as “Mitch” by students at South Bend Clay High School decided to launch a GoFundMe page in an effort to bring back prom for seniors at Clay, Riley, Washington and Adams High School.

All seniors and their dates would be invited to the prom night put on by Mitchell.

Mitchell was inspired by the students who put in so much work throughout the year and wanted to celebrate them before they all head their separate ways.

Mitchell said he knows students at each high school well, even coaching some students in the past, which is why he wanted to put on a special event to show the students how much the community cares about them.

“For me, it means a lot,” Edward Mitchell said, Security at Clay High School. “Like I said, I’ve been around these kids for a long time, some of them call me uncle, some of them call me dad, a bunch of guys just call me coach, but these kids are like family. And I’ve always felt like it’s good to give back to the community, especially our youth.”

Mitchell is hoping to raise $10,000 to host all of the students. If each family could contribute about $20, they would be able to put on the event no problem, according to Mitchell.

Mitchell said the two things students look forward to the most in high school are prom and graduation and while he cannot put on a graduation, he does feel like he has to do something for them to show the students he cares.

Several students at the high school could not be more excited about the plans.

“It’s my last year to do something big with my friends other than graduation because most of my friends were going to separate colleges—some far away, some close—so that last gathering with everybody and seeing fellow classmates and stuff and just having fun,” Laila Buck-Adams said, senior, John Adams High School.

Mitchell said the big night for the graduating seniors will go on—likely towards the end of July—unless they just do not get enough money or the city of South Bend does not open up as early as planned.

South Bend Community School Corporation Superintendent, Dr. Todd Cummings, issued the following statement:

"It has come to my attention that there are two GoFundMe pages circulating, asking for donations to fund school proms for South Bend Community School Corporation seniors. Though these GoFundMe pages use the official school corporation seal and logo, they are not in any way sanctioned, approved, or sponsored by the corporation or by any school leaders. Therefore, the corporation cannot assure that any donated money will be used to put on a prom nor can we assure that appropriate safety measures for students will be in place at the event.

As I have said previously, the health and safety of our students and staff are top priority, and though we sympathize with our seniors for having to forgo proms this year, at this time we have not made plans for an alternative event."

Still, students said the plans mean a lot and they are hopeful they will be able to get together with their fellow classmates and friends for one last big celebration.

“It was very sad because we didn’t, like a lot of my friends, we didn’t go to our junior year and we wanted to go this year and just to hear that it was canceled is very upsetting, like we just wanted to have a prom like everyone else but we couldn’t,” Alayja Dillard said, senior, Clay High School.

Mitchell will also hold a fundraiser on June 6, in addition to the GoFundMe, to help raise money.

If you would like more information or are interested in getting involved, click here.

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