Division Avenue High School students Sarah Kardonsky and Michael Pagano may be showing up to prom on Thursday sporting New York Jets jerseys if television host Ellen DeGeneres has her way.
The Levittown students, who earned Internet fame when Kardonsky's promposal went viral, were guests on "The Ellen Show"on June 4. During the segment, the host gifted them with "special prom gear" that included green-and-white crowns and Jets jerseys that read "Prom King" and "Prom Queen" on the back.
Pagano, who has high-functioning autism, is a longtime Jets fan, which is why Kardonsky recruited some of the NFL team's players to help her ask him to the June 12 senior prom. Using social media, she was able to get nine Jets players, including wide receiver Saalim Hakim, cornerback Dexter McDougle, wide receiver Chris Owusu and cornerback Antonio Cromartie, to record video messages on her behalf, each one asking Pagano if he would go to the prom with Kardonsky.
She played a compilation of the videos for Pagano (and the rest of her schoolmates) on March 25 during the morning announcements that are televised in each classroom, and he said "Yes."
Pagano told DeGeneres the promposal made him feel "pretty special," adding, "I would never think someone would do this for me at all."
Kardonsky explained to DeGeneres that Pagano had actually asked her to be his prom date first, but she had to turn him down because she had already committed to go with another friend.
"I just felt so bad," she said. "He had so much guts to come up to me and ask me, and it was so sweet and I just had to do something nice for him."
Pagano said he asked a few other people after that, but they turned him down. What he didn't realize though was that Kardonsky was in the process of breaking off her plans with her other date.
And on a whim, she sent a message to Hakim via social media and within five minutes, he responded offering to help, she said. That encouraged her to reach out to the other Jets players.
DeGeneres also enlisted the Jets to record a second video message for Kardonsky and Pagano, which she played during Thursday's show.
"We love your story and we hope you guys have a great time at prom," Jets head coach Todd Bowles, surrounded by nine of his players, said in the new video message.
Owusu then whispers into the camera, "Mike, I'm glad you said 'Yes.' "
The Jets also gave the two students four pre-game passes, and a large basket of merchandise including an autographed helmet.
When asked why she wanted to create such a special promposal for her friend, Kardonsky told DeGeneres that Pagano is the "sweetest guy" she's ever met and an "inspiration" to anyone who knows him.
"Even though Mike does have high-functioning autism, he doesn't let that bring him down," she added. "He loves himself; he isn't mad at the world."
DeGeneres responded: "That's the way we should all live."
Watch a clip from the students' guest appearance on "The Ellen Show" by clicking on the video above.