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Faculty helps Wyandanch teen get to prom before joining Army

Wyandanch High School senior Malique Hilton, third from

Wyandanch High School senior Malique Hilton, third from right, enjoys prom at the Venetian Yacht Club in Babylon on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Hilton will enter the Army for basic training after graduation. Credit: Brittany Wait

Malique Hilton almost didn’t make it to the prom Tuesday night. He couldn’t afford it.

It wasn’t until Wyandanch Memorial High School advisers Daniel Marcano and Laura Santiago stepped in, allowing him to go to the prom in style at the Venetian Yacht Club in Babylon.

It was important to him to go after a rough senior year. Hilton’s family had been struggling financially, so he left school last November to get a job. After a month, he returned to school after enlisting in the Army. He will head off for basic training after graduation.

“I wouldn’t be at my prom if it weren’t for them,” Hilton, 18, said of the advisers. “Prom means so much to me because it makes me feel like I’m moving forward. Next comes graduation. I’m almost there to where I want to be. Someday I’ll even be able to buy my mom a house.”

Marcano and Santiago, co-advisers for the senior class, purchased Hilton’s suit and also a gown for a female student, and rallied the staff to help buy prom tickets for students who couldn’t afford the financial burden of an $85 ticket.

“There’s a lot of hardships in this community,” Santiago said. “Thankfully, teachers really look out for our kids. This is a big event for them. Look how much fun they’re having.”

A female student then grabbed Santiago’s hand and they shuffled off to the dance floor.

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