Miriam Colasuonno, a special-education teacher’s aide at Farmingdale High School, was in her classroom when she heard the announcement on the loudspeaker recently. She was being paged to the front office. It was early in the morning, and she hadn’t even touched her coffee yet.
Samuel Thompson, the school’s principal, opened the door and led Colasuonno inside. There, six students holding heart-shaped balloons and a sign yelled, “Surprise!”
The sign read: “We couldn’t mask our excitement to have you at PROM.”
Colasuonno, from Massapequa, has a knack for arts and crafts. She helped her daughter AnneMarie pick out the centerpieces for her wedding, and will sometimes purchase home furnishings from A.C. Moore just to enhance them even more once she gets home.
So when special education teacher Noreen Timpano asked for her craft expertise as the junior prom rolled around, Colasuonno was happy to help.
“I did all the centerpieces,” she said. “[The students] wanted vases and they’re on a budget, so I said, “OK, I’ll take you shopping.'”
Colasuonno took Timpano to Wrap With Us in Oyster Bay and A.C. Moore to get the supplies needed, including vases, ribbon and lots of Hershey’s Kisses.
“I did a sample, I showed the kids, they said it was a go and it took off,” she said.
The students selected some of the elements from the centerpieces online, and the rest came from Colasuonno’s shopping trip. Each centerpiece had a base of Hershey's Kisses, then a layer of tulle, and was topped with sparkly ribbons and small masquerade masks. It took her four days to craft 43 centerpieces for the junior prom.
Colasuonno isn’t a class adviser, nor is she on the prom planning committee. She didn't think she'd be a guest of honor.
“I didn’t expect this,” Colasuonno said as she enjoyed the junior prom Saturday night at Villa Lombardi's in Holbrook. “I just did it to help them out. I’ll do anything for the kids if they ask me, any type of help they ask for in school, I’ll help them.”
Junior class president Caitlin Brabant said she wanted to make sure that the promposal stood out, and didn’t want to pop the question with just an ordinary invitation.
“She’s really a big help,” Brabant said. “Our centerpieces look gorgeous thanks to her. If it was us doing it, it probably wouldn’t look this good… It’s nice that we did something so special because she really does deserve it.”
And although Colasuonno had a couple weeks to prepare, she scrambled to Macy’s to find the perfect look for the special night.
“This was the fastest outfit I’ve ever picked in my entire life,” she said with a laugh.