YOUNGSTOWN -- A royal flush in poker probably wouldn't do a better job of filling the coffer than two pint-size princesses, a prince, two kings, a queen and a royal court did.
The royalty, all pupils at Central Day Care & amp; Preschool, raised $3,500 for their school by collecting pledges from family, friends and neighbors.
Those collecting the greatest contributions were crowned king, queen, princess or prince during a prom Thursday evening.
Decked out in top hats and tuxedos, white gloves, taffeta, satin and tulle, the 3-to-5-year-olds danced the night away -- at least until dusk -- celebrating the 5-year-olds' passage to kindergarten.
The funds the children raised will pay for a graduation ceremony complete with robes and mortarboards. Funds will also go toward a new school van.
Astounding turnout
"We were shocked at the turnout we got from the parents," said Lori Rafidi, school secretary. She sold 250 tickets to the event.
Adult tickets cost $2.50; children's tickets cost $1.50.
Because so many family members wanted to attend, Rafidi said, "we had to limit it to 10 tickets per family because we're only allowed to have so many people in the hall."
"We had people at the door trying to get in without tickets," added Gloria Williams, who teaches 4- and 5-year-olds. "The parents are more excited than the kids."
The preschool prom was an especially good event not only because of its success in raising funds for the school, said Maria Silva, co-director, but also because it got parents involved with their children and the school.
"Everybody jumped on the bandwagon," said Tara Scott of Youngstown. Her 5-year-old daughter, Mya Jones, was crowned queen.
Many members of their family attended. Like many of the other little girls, Mya's dad, Gary Jones, also of Youngstown, was her date.
Mya's family bought tickets left over, because not all families bought their full allotment.
Royal court
Other members of the royal court were: Ronald Adams, son of Taunza Adams, king; Sidney Preston, son of Bernice Preston, king; Trell Thomas, son of Sandra and Eddie Thomas, prince; Kailynn Anderson, daughter of Dawne and Derrick Anderson, princess; and Deonna Tillery, daughter of Debbie Tillery, princess.
Around 30 children enrolled in the preschool and their families attended the prom. An additional 25 children are enrolled in day care.

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