Before the start of the 2016 Stony Brook School senior pre-prom event, some students attending took a moment to discuss their prom-posals, with one in particular standing out because the young woman who received the special invitation comes from a place where there’s no such thing as a prom.

“The schools where I’m from don’t organize big events like a prom,” explained Sarah Uwandori, a Stony Brook School senior from Rwanda who has been in America for two-and-a-half years. “Sometimes, the kids will throw big parties, but nothing like this,” referring to the elaborate gowns and tuxedos sported by the students filling the school’s quad for a photo opportunity before heading over to The Carltun at Eisenhower Park for the actual event.

". . . We know what proms are back home, because we would see them on American television shows, on MTV, and I always wanted to be in one.”

Fellow Stony Brook School student Samuel Ajewole helped fulfill that wish when he made Sarah his prom-posal choice.

“We’re in the same microeconomics class," he explained. ". . . I purposely left my PowerPoint project undone so I could ask Sarah to the prom. . . she had no idea I was planning it. I came over to her dorm to pretend to ask for her help on the project, but I was hiding a bouquet of flowers behind my back.”

His plan worked.

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”Of course!” laughed Samuel to the obvious question. “She said yes.”

Ajewole was not overly affected by having to get dressed up (he wore a black tux with blue tie and vest to match his date’s sparking blue dress), but Sarah was pretty amazed.

She had been to a few weddings, but nothing like Thursday.

“Never in my life have I ever dressed up like this," she said. "It’s a lot of work. But this is wonderful . . . I never thought I would ever have a prom.”