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Oklahoma woman collects prom dresses for Katrina victims

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An Oklahoma City woman is collecting prom dresses for use by students at a high school near Biloxi, Miss., which was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.

Sue McDavid began the project two months ago at the request of a former classmate who lives in Biloxi. At first, her goal was to find about 300 prom dresses for girls at St. Martin High School in Ocean Springs, a suburb of Biloxi. Many of the school's students lost their homes in the hurricane.

But donations somewhat overwhelmed McDavid, who by Friday had collected 545 dresses, in sizes from 0 to 22 and in many colors. She's received dresses from Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kansas and Texas, as well as shoes, jewelry and handbags.

Now, she said, she'll be able to help a second Mississippi high school.

``The goodness of the people in Oklahoma can never be exaggerated,'' McDavid said. ``We live in Oklahoma. That's what Oklahomans do.''

McDavid and her son soon will deliver the dresses to St. Martin, where senior girls will have the first choice of the dresses. The school's prom will be in March.

``They were worn at a happy time, and they'll be worn at a happy time again,'' McDavid said. ``I've got lots of sequins and glitz. I did not know there were so many styles of dresses.''

Amy Barnes, a senior at St. Martin, said many students there didn't expect a prom. She's living with five other family members in a two-bedroom apartment, while some of her classmates remain in tents.

They appreciate the kindness of McDavid and all those who made donations, she said.

``Doing things like prom is an awesome way to get your mind off the absurdity of your situation,'' Barnes said. ``In all the dirt and grim, you definitely don't feel like a princess.''
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