Donnell Brooks is a Ballou senior who's walked with a limp and not grown much since he survived a brain tumor operation at age 10. For the school's prom on Friday evening. Brooks got a special kind of entry. In an essay contest, he had won a first-class, police-escorted ride to the dance at Hyatt Regency.
The 19-year-old lives with his single mom, brother and sister. He entered a contest police officers hold each year, asking kids to write about what a father figure means to them. Brooks wrote about his absent dad: "I don't feel hurt because my mother was there at all times," he wrote.
Brooks won the contest and received a first-class ride to the prom as a prize. Contest creator, police officer Edwin Bucker of Ballou security praised the student.
"He is probably the most love student at Ballou," Bucker said.
A couple hundred of his kin and friends turned out in Brooks' neighborhood, where he in his white tux and his color-coordinated date, his cousin Alana, were a big hit.
"I had to rush home and get my camera and get back over here," said Sharon Harper, Brooks' aunt. "He is very special to us."
Then the friends heard and felt the rumble on Savannah Southeast as a party bus and a hundred motorcycles approached. Neighbors, family, motorcycle riders, everyone was watching Brooks get in his ride, whisking off to dance with his friends.