JERSEY CITY -- New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford bought a new midnight blue tux just for Dickinson High School's senior prom.
Both he and the seniors have big reasons to celebrate.
Besides the students' impending graduation, and the successful execution of Weatherford's second "Project Prom," Weatherford's wife is due with their fourth baby in two weeks.
But Weatherford emphasized that the night wasn't about himself: "I want to make this night about you more special," he told the kids.
The night was "different, for sure" from proms past, said Orlando Negron, a biology teacher who was chaperoning. "The media is really making a big impact on them, so they're very excited."
He also commended the school staff for their ongoing commitment to the children.
The prom had a higher student attendance rate than in years past, according to senior class advisor John Barth, who said that the school's mission is to "not leave anybody behind" who wants to go to prom but can't afford it.
"The fact that [Steve] came and he chose our school, it made everyone so much more excited to go to prom," said senior Fibii Rezk, 18. "It's like the one thing you look forward to all year... [and] the great donation made prom so much cheaper for everyone."
The prom dance got off to a motivational start, with Weatherford telling the students that "today is a new day" and anyone can achieve anything with hard work and clean living.
He then gathered the hundreds of students around him on the dance floor to shoot an Instagram video. He had them thank the New York Giants for underwriting the prom in support of his initiative, which he plans to continue year after year.
Then, the dancing started.
Laura Herzog | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com | May 9, 2015