Rachael Ray Cooks Up A Prom

Rachael Ray
AP Photo/Lucas Jackson
Celebrity chef Rachael Ray served up a prom for some Alabama teenagers who lost eight classmates and their school in a tornado, her publicist confirmed Thursday.

Ray planned the menu and helped prepare dinner at Enterprise High School's prom, according to a statement from Ray's publicist, Georgianna Dente. The star of her own syndicated talk show, "The Rachel Ray Show," paid for the dance and filmed it for an episode to air this month.

"The students of Enterprise High are so courageous, given all that they've gone through," Ray said in the statement. "When I heard about what happened to their school and classmates, we wanted to help.

"The prom was all about celebrating their accomplishments and honoring the classmates who tragically lost their lives," she said.

Earlier in the day, Ray appeared with Gov. Bob Riley and Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell to greet students at an assembly.

The prom, held at Fort Rucker, was themed "Caught in a Moment." Photographs of seniors Jamie Vidensek and Michael Tompkins - two of the students killed - lined the dance floor, The Dothan Eagle newspaper reported.

Senior Mitchell Baker, 17, said the prom was bittersweet after the death of his friends.

"It makes it a little harder for me," Baker told The Eagle. "I'm used to all of them being around."

The governor on Thursday signed a bill that appropriates $32 million to rebuild Hillcrest Elementary School and Enterprise High School. The schools were damaged in the tornado March 1. Classes resumed March 14 at a community college.