Four years after pledging to give up their senior prom to raise money for an impoverished school in Kenya, students in Cupertino High School's Class of 2010 are getting the prom of their dreams after all.
Cupertino's senior class submitted a 60-second video to a contest sponsored by Dell where the winning the school receives what Dell has dubbed a SuperProm. Monday, Cupertino's kids found out they won.
This story started in 2007, when the then-freshman at Cupertino High School decided to focus their fundraising efforts for the next four years on raising money for Nthimbiri Secondary School in Kenya.
Normally, fundraising focuses on raising money for the junior and senior proms. But after hearing about conditions in Kenya from a Kenya native who works as an engineer in Mountain View, the students decided it would be better to raise money for those less fortunate.
"Every day we go to school, and it's like, you go to the smallest school in Fremont Union High School District," Cupertino senior Lukas Daszko said. "But then you see [Nthimbiri Secondary School], and you realize how lucky you are."
Cupertino's students adopted the school as their cause, and pledged to raise $100,000. They called the project Kenya Dream.
For four years, students washed cars, wrapped gifts and sold coupons books, with all the proceeds going to their fundraiser. In all, they raised $25,000 -- and a Cupertino Rotary's endowment foundation matched that, bringing the total to $50,000.
Then two weeks ago, the students heard about Dell's contest. Dell would pay for a $100,000 SuperProm to the school that submits the best 60-second video explaining why the students deserve it. The students realized they could have everything -- raise money for the kids in Kenya, raise awareness for their cause and have a great prom, too
Cupertino's students scrambled to put together a minute-long montage of photos that told their story.
"We realized that we were luckier than many other people living in developing countries," a student explains on the video. "We enjoy our lives while millions of others suffer under the yoke of hard work because they live in a less than fortunate circumstance. Why should this be?"
More than 200 schools across the country entered the contest, which was decided through online voting. Other schools in the Fremont Union High School district threw their support behind Cupertino, posting links on Facebook and e-mailing friends, urging them to vote for the school.
It worked -- Cupertino recieved 32,145 votes, beating runner-up Andover High School by nearly 2,000 votes and winning the competition.
Li, who spearheaded the project, aspires to more.
"We're going to try to expand Kenya Dream out," Li said, "to get as big as the American Red Cross, Bill Gates Foundation and really just try to get more students involved so we can all make a difference in the world."