Editor's Note: Newsday.com is catching up with former Long Island prom kings and queens to reflect on being named royalty and see what they're up to now. If you're a former Long Island high school prom king or queen and would like to participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The junior prom theme was “A Night in Paris,” and it wasn’t a night that Newfield High School’s Phil Forte would soon forget. In 2006, he was crowned prom king in front of all of his peers--right after they had finished creating a massive Eiffel Tower out of cardboard.
“When they called my name, I looked at my friend and he said, ‘How did you win prom king?’” Forte recalled. “I said, ‘I have no idea.’”
Forte was an active member of his junior class activities. In fact, he said he hardly attended his classes the week before prom since the preparation was so rigorous.
“It was cool to see it all come together on prom night,” he said.
After graduating in 2007, Forte attended Suffolk County Community College for two years. He then transferred to SUNY Albany, where two of his high school friends were enrolled. His career path later took a few turns. First, he pursued sports journalism. At 19, he was able to cover the New York Giants training camp in Albany for his internship at The Saratogian.
“Unfortunately, I’m a diehard Jets fan,” Forte said with a laugh.
Forte was thrilled to receive such an exciting opportunity at a young age, but when he moved back to Long Island after graduation, he wanted to try something new.
“It was tough to get a journalism job,” he said. “I wasn’t making the money that I aspired to make.”
Forte got a job working under the father of one of his best buddies from high school as an Allstate insurance salesman. From there, he moved up and became a sales instructor.
“I taught people how to do the job I left at his agency to make everyone a better salesperson,” he said.
In March, Forte started his own Allstate agency. He teamed up with a friend from high school, Antony Strano, and the Strano-Forte Agency opened for business in Melville.
“We’re building our book from the ground up,” Forte said. “We’ve got a lot of experience together between the both of us, so we’re looking to go on from there and make a life out of it.”
What’s next for the new small business owner? A trip to California with his high school buddies to see a concert and hike through the Sequoia National Forest. Newfield High School will always be close to his heart, and his mother’s, too.
“The crown is still out in her house.” he said, laughing.