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Oceanside Police recognizes persevering students by sending them to prom

High school seniors are busy getting ready for prom and graduation after several years of living with COVID-19. But the cost for these events can be expensive. On Tuesday, Oceanside police department helped a couple of students cover those costs and KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne was there.

El Camino High School Senior Donte Ingram got pulled out of dance class on Tuesday morning.

The principal led him out front of the school to meet two Oceanside police officers.

Ingram thought he was in trouble — but instead, he found out his school had nominated him for a special recognition.

“We know you’ve been working hard and trying to hang in there and getting through everything that you’re getting through. We’re really proud of you. So, you’ve actually been nominated by your school. So, on behalf of Oceanside Police Department, we’re going to help you get to prom. We’re giving you $250. So, hopefully you have a good time,” said Oceanside police officer Jamal Daniels.

“I didn't expect this, not at all — this is a blessing, I’m so grateful for this,” Ingram said.
The giveaways took place at Oceanside High School, El Camino High School, and Surfside Academy. Selected students were nominated by teachers and administrators for excelling in school, despite facing obstacles at home.

Ingram said he wasn't sure if he’d be going to his senior prom due to the cost, “I didn't have the money at first but now I do. I really am happy for this.”

Ingram’s brother, who's also his guardian, was in on the secret. Ingram called him as soon as he got the award. “He’s saved me from so much. My father wasn’t really there for me, so he raised me. He's like my best friend,” he said.

School Officer Daniels said he hears a lot about the kinds of stresses students are carrying, “I’m fortunate enough that they’re comfortable to tell me things like that. It's tough. They go through a lot, but these kids are tough."

Officer Daniels says he felt grateful to present the award to the chosen students, “I was blessed growing up, so being able to give back to someone not as fortunate as I was, it's the most awesome feeling in the world, and part of why we get into this profession. To help people — and that's what we were essentially able to do today.”

Students were awarded $250 each for prom expenses from Oceanside Police Department’s Random Acts of Kindness Project fund.

The project started last year with a $20,000 donation from the Fortin family, founders of the Trauma Interventions Program.

Members of the Oceanside Police Department have also surprised local residents with money at the pump and grocery store.