Nineteen students from the Baltimore School for the Arts walked through the tall double doors and through a hallway of cheering supporters at the headquarters of Discovery Communications. For the next couple of hours, the students would be pampered, allowed to choose from thousands of prom dresses or dozens of tuxedo styles, also receiving hair and make-up advice.
“Today was one of the most amazing days of my life,” said BSA senior Nani Inocentes.
The hard work, discipline, and accomplishments of these students led to their selection to participate in a day of delight and confidence boosting — the 2017 Say Yes to the Prom event. The event, a collaboration between Discovery Communications, Paul Mitchell, and the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, seeks to provide mentorship and other opportunities for high-achieving high school seniors from underserved communities.
BSA alumna Jada Pinkett Smith so generously recommended BSA to participate in this year’s event. At the beginning of the day, the students were greeted by a video from Pinkett Smith and felt a special connection as she implored them that they could do anything. A video from the legendary Oprah followed, telling the students to follow their dreams. And the host of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, Monte Durham, was present in person all day to speak to each student about the looks they had selected and encourage them.
“I’ve worked at the Baltimore School for the Arts for 18 years. Today stands out as one of the most meaningful and inspirational,” said Carter Polakoff, director of the BSA Foundation. “We are so incredibly grateful to Jada, Discovery, Monte, and everyone who made this happen for our students.”