PHOENIX - A former high school dropout-turned-education advocate danced the night away Saturday at her first prom. She's more than 70 years old.
Her colleagues said she puts so much work into making her namesake school -- Linda Abril Educational Academy -- a success by helping students get ahead regardless of their circumstances.
Some of those same students set up Saturday night’s surprise of crowning her honorary prom queen.
They call Abril encouraging and energetic. And on Saturday night, you could add emotional to that list.
“Oh are you kidding me,” she said. “As a high school dropout, three weeks into my sophomore year, I’ve always regretted it. I paid dearly for it and one day I wanted the chance to make up to all the teachers who believed in me.”
It looks like Abril got that chance and made good on it. That's why the second chance school means so much to her.
She’s been a Phoenix Union High School District board member for more than two decades, hoping to stop students from repeating her mistakes.
“My heart is bursting,” said Abril. “This school was the place that I wanted to be the place where hope lives.”
But she never expected to get back some of what she lost.
That changed over the weekend.
“Her first prom and it’s at her school, the school named after her,” said a fellow board member Randy Schiller. “To me that’s the coolest thing she could ask for. She started giggling as we pulled up to the school like, ‘I can’t believe we going to do this.’”