PARADISE — This past weekend, students at Paradise High School held their annual prom.
Despite all the hardship they’ve endured this school year, students and organizers managed to make it a celebration they’d never forget.
To hear seniors Mackenzie Anderson and Jaycee Brawley tell it, the students at Paradise High School have been through quite a year.
“To describe it, it was just insane and, like, very different,” Brawley said.
“Very emotional and a constant battle, physically and mentally,” Anderson said.
In November, many of their homes and most of the town they knew their whole lives burned to the ground.
“When the fire happened I was worried about not having graduation and not being able to participate in any of the senior activities,” Brawley said.
When it came time for prom, the lesson they’d learned all year was again reaffirmed — they’re not alone.
Makeup artists flew into Paradise from New York to help prom-goers get ready for free. Dresses and tuxedos were all paid for.
Then there was the star-studded video. The celebrity tribute featured nearly 30 actors, athletes and entertainers, including Gabrielle Union, Elizabeth Banks, John Heder and Jude Law.
“I was blown away,” said Melanie Little.
Little, who was the driving force behind the video, doesn’t really have a direct connection to Paradise High School. She lives in Gridley but after the fire broke out, she said she’d been looking for ways to help.
“You know, I don’t know, I just one day was thinking I wanted to do something really cool for the kids,” she told FOX40.
A publicist friend in Los Angeles connected her to agents and before she knew it, dozens of celebrities were on board, including nearly the entire cast of the show “The Office.”
“No ball playing, no skateboarding and no bicycle riding. Other than that, I hope you have a fantastic time,” Steve Carell said in the video.
“Seeing them, their tears and the way that they acted when they saw the video, it really was an emotional thing that I will never forget,” Little said.
To put it simply, the students were starstruck.
“‘Office’ people came up and, like, Nina Dobrev. I was like, oh my gosh, so excited. ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ oh my gosh,” Anderson said.
The high school itself may not be fully rebuilt yet but, clearly, its spirit is already there.