Mineola High School senior Dominic Paggi, 18, knew he wanted to make the prom a fairytale experience for his friend and fellow senior Katie Keyes, 17 -- and the school's trip to Italy was the perfect setting to stage his promposal.
To create the perfect romantic setting, he enlisted the help of math teacher Bette Sloane, along with the other student travelers and chaperones.
"We were both going on the Italy trip together, and I knew I wanted to ask her when we were there," Paggi said Thursday night at Mineola's prom at the North Ritz Club in Syosset. "I didn't really know how we would do it, so I asked Ms. Sloane for help."
A visit to Juliet's balcony in Verona -- the purported location of one of the most famous moments from "Romeo and Juliet" -- was on the itinerary, and to Sloane and her colleagues there was no question as to where the proposal should take place.
"He wanted a romantic idea," Sloane said. "We immediately thought Juliet's balcony."
Sloane and Paggi worked quickly to coordinate a promposal that included a flash mob sing-along with the 26 other students on the trip in February. While Paggi and Keyes were posing for a picture on Juliet's balcony, their classmates in the courtyard below broke into Taylor Swift's "Love Story," which references the famous Shakespearean couple." The song ends with the line, "Baby, just say yes." Paggi promptly popped his question once that lyric was sung.
"There were a lot of theater kids on the trip, and they had beautiful voices," Sloane said. "It's something they'll remember."
Paggi and Keyes made more memories Thursday night with the rest of their graduating class at the prom. Nearly 200 students kept the dance floor packed for the entire night.
Like the trip to Italy, Paggi values the time at his prom. "It's about making memories with my best friends," he said.