If you can’t get to Wakanda, Saudia Schuler will make sure Wakanda comes to you. It’s prom season, so of course in Philly the past few weekends have been filled with blocked off streets, red carpets flowing from row homes and large groups gathered in neighborhoods to see their high school juniors and seniors come through drippin’ in their finest black tie ensembles. However, when it comes to prom sendoffs, business owner Saudia Schuler is a tough one to top, and this year was no exception.
Last year Schuler spent an impressive $25,000 on her son’s prom send-off, shipping in sand and camels to North Philadelphia for a Dubai-themed event that not just her son but the whole neighborhood could enjoy. This year Schuler extended her generosity by presenting an opportunity for an epic prom send off to neighborhood teens asking them to send her their grades and an essay explaining why they deserved to shut the block down with a lavish celebration before heading to their senior prom.
Schuler, owner of local soul food restaurant Country Cookin, couldn’t just choose one and ended up selecting 24 winners. Channel 6 Action News reports the neighborhood chipped in to assist with the six-figure celebration that took place Wednesday night. Schuler says her only aim is to help spread joy to some well-deserving teens:
“These kids have good grades, went through struggles. Some are rich, some are poor, but they all went through some stuff. I just wanted to give somebody the joy my son had.”
Schuler says opportunities such as this motivate the teens to do good things and get good grades because they have something to look forward to.
The send off paid tribute to all things Wakanda including King T’Challa, the Dora Millaje and even M’Baku. Dayanna McBride and her date, Quian were two of the teens in attendance. McBride wore an elaborate gold gown that actually gave some Coming To America vibes. McBride shares she was overwhelmed by Schuler’s graciousness:
“She did not have to do this for me. Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve it.”
Say what you want about Schuler and the neighborhood taking on such a hefty price tag for a prom send off, but anything that reminds our youth that they are kings and queens is a win in my book. Not only is Schuler giving these young people memories that will last a lifetime, she’s also giving the neighborhood a chance to come together and celebrate something positive.
You can check out pictures and footage of the Wakanda-themed celebration below: