As the Lawrence Woodmere Academy junior-senior prom got closer, Noah Warren wondered how he would ask his girlfriend -- and this year’s valedictorian -- Anli Gerbino.
While brainstorming with his friends, it came to him. The school’s annual trip abroad would provide the perfect setting to pop the prom question.
“We thought, ‘We’re all going to Italy, what’s better than there?’ ” Warren recalled during Tuesday's prom at Jericho Terrace in Mineola. “I’ve wanted to go to the Colosseum since I was 6. So, that’s how it came about.”
Juniors and seniors of Lawrence Woodmere Academy set off on an expedition every year. Leading up to the April trip, Gerbino said the students attended lots of meetings about safety, security and what to expect overseas.
But when they got to Rome, Warren held one more important meeting.
“The night before [the promposal], I got a couple of my friends and her friends to design a poster,” Warren said. “My friend Will came up with the idea of ‘Prome’ instead of ‘Prom,’ for ‘Rome.’ ”
The next day, the students toured the Colosseum. Warren tried to coordinate his plan with the tour director, who told him that he could ‘prompose’ when they reached the bottom of the Colosseum.
There was just one hiccup: Once they were at the bottom, the tour director kept talking.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” Warren said with a grin. Gerbino giggled while remembering when she saw the poster for the first time.
“I had no idea that it was going to happen,” she said. “I was facing the other way and my friends were like, ‘Oh, let’s take a picture.’ I turned around, and he was there with the poster. It was really cute.”
Warren is a junior at Lawrence Woodmere Academy, and Gerbino will attend Carleton College in Minnesota this fall.
But at prom, they were just looking forward to the celebration.
"I don’t really dance," Gerbino said, "so I'm looking forward to the food and hanging out with friends."
Gerbino hung out and snapped some pictures in the photo booth with Warren. Even with graduation around the corner, she didn't seem too worried about her valedictorian address. That's because she wrote it the night before prom.
“My mom wanted me to get it done!” she said with a laugh.