Westhill High School (WHS) announced Senior Tahmida Ahmed as the winner of the Prom Prize Giveaway, sponsored by WHS Class of 2006 alumna Donia Dupervil, a Haitian-American, TV host and Emmy Nominated Producer. Donia Duchess, as she is known, shared her road to success as part of the school’s Haitian Flag Day Celebration on May 18, when she also announced the winner of her contest.
In an effort to pay it forward to the WHS community, Duchess held an essay contest to determine which WHS student she would send to the prom, including hair styling, makeup and gown. Each student was required to explain why they felt they deserved the prize, by addressing financial state or dreams and desires for prom.
According to Ahmed it felt surreal to have her dreams become a reality. She was able to stand out in her own unique way with the support of WHS Assistant Principal Claudia Obas and Duchess.
“I felt like, wow I actually won something, and it’s a big thing. I didn’t think I was going to get my ‘dream’ dress but everything fell into place, like a perfect fairytale with Donia being my fairy godmother,” said Ahmed. “My look was perfect—the makeup, the shoes, the hijab, and the dress—I felt like a real-life princess. I was able to stand out of the crowd and yet be modest at the same time, which is a hard thing to do with prom dresses.”
The winning student, who is not of Haitian-American descent, was chosen because Duchess felt her essay expressed many of the same challenges that Duchess herself faced when in high school.
The Haitian Flag Day assembly was made a possible by the newly recreated Haitian Club, which has been absent from the school for nearly 10 years. The Club Advisor and WHS Social Studies Teacher Sheryl Berkley along with Obas arranged for the guest speaker and manages the club’s budget. According to Obas, this will be one of many assemblies that will further celebrate WHS’s diversity.