The Rock couldn't make it to her prom. So he hijacked her school's PA system instead.

Ever consider inviting a celebrity to your prom?

It's almost become a tradition: teens shouting out requests on Twitter and Instagram, hoping their plaintive cries (a limo! a full meal at Olive Garden! dancing till dawn!) will catch the hearts of their favorite celeb.

Most of the time, there's no response. Sometimes, these promposals are (rightly) criticized.


This year, though? Something amazing happened when one Minnesota senior invited Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to prom.

In a Twitter video posted in mid-April, Katie Kelzenberg — dressed in her own version of one of The Rock's most iconic looks (yeah, I'm talking jeans and fanny pack) — laid out the reasons Johnson should come to prom with her.

Her tone? A strong attempt at the "smoldering confidence is my superpower" that Johnson is so well known for.

Her reasons? Undeniable.

And yes, that's a pillow with The Rock's face on it. (Do they even sell those in stores? Was it a custom order?) You know Kelzenberg must have taken some ribbing for that pun at the end — but only because it's so good and we're all just jealous we didn't come up with it first.

Listen, if nothing else, this promposal took some nerve. Maybe that's something she learned from Johnson? Don't be afraid! Shoot your shot! Live free or die hard! (Wait...)

But Kelzenberg couldn't have known what The Rock was cooking.

Most celebrity promposals end up as nothing more than a story about the time you invited a famous person to prom and they never responded. But that's not how The Rock works. The guy lives and breathes good deeds. When he's not charming up the movie screen, he's constantly bringing love and sunshine into the world.

And Kelzenberg was no exception. While Johnson couldn't come to prom, he wanted to make Kelzenberg the queen of her high school. So he coordinated with her school and got on the morning announcements.

"Let's start this Friday morning announcement with a little bit of fun and a little bit of excitement," Johnson said via the intercom.

That's Kelzenberg in the red shirt below. And she was feeling a lot more than a bit of excitement. In fact, she looks like someone might need to check on her. Is there a doctor in the school? Because a self-proclaimed "big, brown, bald, tattooed guy" just made her entire year.  

And then he made it even better. "Because we are now best friends and I have so much love for you because you're so awesome, I have a very special gift," Johnson said.

Uh, what could be better than the gift of "best friendship" with The Rock? (which he fully means, by the way. You're in Johnson's orbit — you're now buddies for life). Maybe renting out an entire movie theater — all 232 seats — for Kelzenberg and her friends and family to see his latest film "Rampage" will make up for the fact that The Rock can't make it to the big dance.

And if Kelzenberg was at all sad about him missing her big day? Well, Johnson also bought out all the theater's concessions too. And he posted a special video to thank her for her request on Instagram. (From the gym, of course.)

SURPRISE KATIE KELZENBERG! About a week ago, I come across a video on my Twitter feed, from a student at Stillwater Area High School (oldest high school in Minnesota) asking me if I would be her date to her prom. Unfortunately, I’ll be shooting during that time in Hawaii, BUT I was so impressed by this young lady’s charm and confidence to even ask me (ladies always get shy in front of me) that I had to do something special. I decided to rent out an entire theater (capacity 232 seats) in her town so Katie and her closest 232 friends and family can enjoy a special screening of RAMPAGE. And all the free popcorn, candy and soda high school kids can consume! You’re money’s no good Katie... everything is on Uncle DJ. 🤙🏾🍿 🍭🥤!! And I also taped a special morning message surprising Katie and her high school that will play across the school’s intercom system... literally...RIGHT NOW, Katie should be turning red hearing me surprise her in front of her entire school. I wish I was there in person Katie, to see your reaction to all this, but I’ll hear about for sure and most importantly - you and all your friends have fun at the theater and ENJOY RAMPAGE! Thanks for being an AWESOME FAN and I’m a lucky dude to have fans like you. Uncle DJ 🤟🏾❤️ Ps - the gorilla in Rampage is way smarter (and better looking) than I am, but don’t tell him that because he has a HUGE ego 🦍

A post shared by therock (@therock) on

"This is for a very special young lady," Johnson started enthusiastically before making sure he was pronouncing Kelzenberg's name correctly. "I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for inviting me to your prom. I just want to thank a moment to let you know how awesome you are."

This is the kind of positivity we all need in our lives. But you don't have to wait until prom to create it.

In his message, Johnson thanked Kelzenberg for stepping out of her comfort zone to ask him to the big dance. Johnson was so happy he beamed, calling it "the best and coolest part of my job," in a tweet.

And that's the real message here. She took her shot and touched someone in a big way. That kind of positivity is something we should all be working at on a small scale.

So let's take a cue from Kelzenberg and The Rock and make an effort to step outside our comfort zones every day. You never know what good things might happen!

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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