The average U.S. family spends about $919 on prom, according to a 2015 survey by Visa. With prom tickets alone averaging around $70, the evening is a rite of passage that some teens are forced to miss.
This was the case for 17-year-old Tristan Lyerly -- until several teachers and local businesses stepped in to make sure he and students in similar situations wouldn’t miss out on one of their last high school memories, Wednesday night’s senior prom at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.
Second-language teacher and senior class adviser Betty Shulterbrondt, who has been teaching at Uniondale High School for four years, has made it part of her mission to ensure that every student has a chance to experience the key moments of their high school years.
That’s why each year, she and other staff members look for teachers, administrators and local businesses to help sponsor students who are in need of financial assistance in order to attend prom.
“It’s very important to me that our students enjoy their senior year,” Shulterbrondt said.
When Shulterbrondt explained Lyerly’s situation to her colleagues, an anonymous teacher stepped in to purchase his ticket.
But the generosity didn’t stop there. When the manager of Men’s Wearhouse at Roosevelt Field mall was approached about possibly sponsoring the student, he donated a tailored tuxedo to Lyerly to ensure the teen would have the attire to make the night a special one.
“Having people do this for me makes me want to be that kind of person for someone else,” Lyerly said.
Lyerly, who dreams of going into tech advertising, will be attending college in the fall and said that he is looking forward to kick-starting his business career in the next chapter of his life.
“My dream is to be able to provide anything for my friends and family because I believe friends and family are what make life great,” he said.