7. Prom proposals get creative Popping the prom question became...

7. Prom proposals get creative

Popping the prom question became as elaborate as some marriage proposals as students across Long Island asked their dates through flash mobs, singing telegrams and by embedding questions into language tests.

Popping the prom question on Long Island

Pictured: Katelyn Postiglione, 16, and Jimmy Ferraiolo, 17, from Huntington High School, are shown near the school. Ferraiolo painted the rock to ask Postiglione to the junior-senior prom. Ferraiolo's father gave his son the idea to paint the rock. Credit: Chris Ware

When Tyler Krolikowski asked Gabby Ross to their senior prom at St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip, he got down on one knee for the proposal.

The two were on the runway during a school fundraiser fashion show; they strutted together as Krolikowski modeled a tux and Ross a prom dress. When they got to the end of their sashaying, Krolikowski dropped and reached for his back pocket; the audience gasped. Would he pull out an engagement ring? Not quite. Krolikowski unfolded a sign that said, "Prom?"

When Ross said yes, the audience broke into cheers. "I know how the girls like to get asked in a cute way," Krolikowski says.

Popping the prom question has become as elaborate as some marriage proposals as prom season opens this month across Long Island. Students have asked their dates through flash mobs, via singing telegrams, by embedding questions into language tests, and more. "For the guys, it's turned into a competition now," says Morgan Hughes, a senior at Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, whose proposal story is part of the collection that follows. "Everybody's trying to beat each other. It's all about surprising the girl."


Jericho High School senior Sagar Shah tapped his date's teammates on the school's dance team to help him choreograph and pull off a flash mob prom proposal in the school cafeteria. They practiced once and posted the moves in an online video so others who wanted to join in could learn the moves on their own.

One morning before school, when Shah and Alexandra Shi, a junior, were hanging out in the cafeteria, about a dozen girls began to dance to Calvin Harris' "Feel So Close." "I thought, 'Oh My God, who is this flash mob for?' " Shi says. "Then he tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'I'll be right back.' "

Shah joined the girls in the dance, pasting a heart on the sleeve of his white T-shirt when the lyrics crooned, "I wear my heart upon my sleeve," and opening up a sign that said, "Prom?" Shi, who had been laughing and hiding her face, leaped from her seat to hug Shah.

The online school newspaper, The JerEcho, posted a video of the flash mob on its website. "Everybody was viewing it the next few periods," Shah says. "I got comments all day long. Now, I've kind of upped the bar for the other guys, so they feel compelled to do something to top what I've done."


Jimmy Ferraiolo, a junior at Huntington High School, wasn't sure how best to ask fellow junior Katelyn Postiglione, 16, to their prom. "I wanted to ask her in a public way, a way to really express my love to her," Ferraiolo says.

He sought advice from Dad, who, incidentally, is a Huntington graduate, class of 1978. John Ferraiolo knew about the school's tradition of students painting the huge boulder that sits at one of the entrances to the school to mark special occasions. "Why don't you paint the rock?" he suggested.

"That's perfect," the younger Ferraiolo decided. He went to Home Depot and purchased six cans of black spray paint and one of pink. At 11:30 one night, he and four friends painted the rock black and wrote in pink letters, "Katelyn Prom?" At school the next day, Ferraiolo walked Postiglione to the rock and gave her a bouquet of red roses.

"It was really sweet," Postiglione says. "Everyone in the halls kept saying, 'Congratulations on the rock.'"


Several boys enlisted the help of their foreign language teachers to insert prom proposals into tests. Dakota Lopez, a senior at East Islip High School, asked his Spanish teacher to insert the question on their Spanish test as question #15, her favorite number. "I figured I better put it in English, just to be on the safe side," says teacher Marylou Ferrieri.

"I was a little nervous," Lopez says. "I wasn't really focused on my test at all."

Tina Zicolella, also a senior, read the question and didn't know whether she was actually supposed to write a response. "What's the answer?" Ferrieri prompted. Zicolella turned around to smile at Lopez, who sits behind her. "Yes," she said. Ferrieri gave Zicolella five points for her correct reply.

Over at Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, senior Matt Ranftle plotted with his Italian teacher. Ranftle has ninth period free, but Morgan Hughes, also a senior, has Italian. Their teacher agreed to insert, "Morgan, look out the window" into Hughes' exam. Outside, two of Ranftle's friends unfurled two king-size bedsheets that Ranftle had sewn together; he also had spray-painted "PROM?" across them.

Classes all along that hallway looked out the window to see the proposal. Ranftle entered the classroom in a shirt and tie with a bouquet of flowers for Hughes, who said, "Yes."


On a Friday evening, Sydney Pergament was home in Melville, hanging out with her boyfriend, Spencer Hagler, when the doorbell rang. Hagler was already downstairs talking to Pergament's parents, and they called her down.

"I thought I was seeing things," Pergament says. Standing in the foyer next to Hagler was a gorilla dressed in a pink tutu who began to warble a singing telegram. The song was filled with inside jokes that had meaning to the couple, and ended with Hagler's proposal asking Pergament to accompany him to their Half Hollow Hills High School East junior prom.

"I wanted to do something a little special that wouldn't be forgotten," Hagler says. He even considered skywriting, but went for the singing telegram, which set him back about $150.

GIMME A 'P' . . .

Vincent Yancigay, a senior at St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip, attended one of Melissa McDonough's cheerleading competitions and stood behind the judges holding a sign that benignly said, "Let's Go Cougars." McDonough could see it as she and her squad performed. But just as they were forming their pyramid finale, Yancigay dropped the Cougars sign, and behind it was one that said, "Melissa, Prom?"

"You feel so special at that moment," says McDonough, who is cheerleading captain. "That's a dream come true for a cheerleader, for that to happen during a performance. Everyone was saying, 'He has some guts to do that.' Everyone wanted him as their prom date. I said, 'No, he's mine.' "


A surprise pizza was delivered to Rebecca Carucci's house in East Islip. When she opened the box, written on the pie in pepperoni and black olives was "PROM?" On the inside of the box was scrawled: "If the answer is yes, give Andrew a call, if the answer is no, enjoy this free pizza from Gio's Pizza."

"I thought that's what we were having for dinner," Carucci says. "I got really excited. I thought it was such a cute idea."

Andrew Grosse, a senior at East Islip High School, works as a delivery person at Gio's. He asked his boss, Larry Betro, to make the special pie. "I thought it was pretty cool," Betro says. "I called my fiancee up and said, 'I should have asked you to marry me that way.' "


Andrew D’Anneo, 18, a senior at Harborfields High School, changed the lyrics of a song during rehearsal for the school’s performance of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” to propose to his date; he played Schroeder and his date played Sally Brown. The song was “A Book Report About Peter Rabbit.” His date’s name is Miranda Abbott, so he changed the lyrics to “A Book Report About Miranda Abbott” and modified other lyrics as well, to include a prom proposal.
Abbott, a sophomore, was at first confused about why

D’Anneo was messing up the lyrics. “You know this song better than that,” she thought. Then she realized he was singing to her, in front of the whole theater company.
This year the bar on prom proposals was raised higher, D’Anneo says. “We had a few creative ones in the beginning, and I think that got the ball rolling.”


Kelly Mahoney’s prom proposal unfolded between fourth and ninth periods one school day at Harborfields High School. Each period, a different friend handed her a pink rose with a card attached. When she opened the envelopes, each card had a word on it, starting with “Will” and continuing with “you” “go” “to” “prom” and the final card, “with me.”

When Mahoney, a senior, got that last card, Walter Brandsema, also a senior, appeared before her at her AP Literature classroom with the final six roses in the bouquet. “It was very exciting. I didn’t really know who it was until the last minute,” Mahoney says. Says Brandsema: “Especially the girls, they want something to remember.” Will Mahoney remember this? “Definitely,” she says.


When Lauren Heschl went to her locker at St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip one morning, she noticed a heart folded in half and taped to the outside. When she opened it, it said “Prom?” on the inside.

Her suitor — friend and fellow senior Tyler Slack — was hiding in a classroom across from Heschl’s locker. “I tapped her on the back and gave her flowers,” Slack says. They were yellow blooms, her favorite color.

Tyler’s brother, Jake, also a senior at the school, asked his date out by sliding a fortune out of a fortune cookie and replacing it with a slip of paper that popped the question. He took fellow senior Morgan Seeberger out to a Chinese dinner and presented her with the doctored fortune cookie.

Why didn’t the boys just simply ask? “Everyone wants to take it a step further and make it memorable,” Tyler Slack says.