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Project Prom winner ready for big night

Danielle Trotta, a junior at Seaford High School, steps out wearing the dress chosen by Newsday readers at her school's prom on Thursday. Videojournalist: Chris Ware (June 20, 2013)

When 3,000 people choose your prom dress, you gotta listen.

Project Prom winner -- Danielle Trotta -- did, and even though the floral Alex + Eve gown Newsday readers picked wasn't the one that initially caught her eye, she exuded confidence as she posed for pictures on the sun-soaked patio of The Carltun in Eisenhower Park Thursday night.

"I love the way it fits," she said of the flowing number, a palette of blues and greens complemented by her golden eye shadow and fiery tresses. "I can't wait to dance in it."

It's been a tough few years for the Seaford High School junior, who lost her dad in 2008 and had her home destroyed by superstorm Sandy. "I've never seen her happier," her mom, Kathy, said on the big night. "My husband would be beaming. I know he's here with us tonight."

Friends gathered around the belle of the ball to gush over how she looked, but most of all they spoke of her vibrant personality. "She always knows how to have a good time and put a smile on your face," said longtime pal Jess Rini, 17.

Danielle's date, Tom Simonetti, 18, was suited up in matching turquoise accents -- including the cast on his right arm. ("It's a long story," he said.)

By the time the group photo shoot was over, the friends were ready to hit the dance floor. But how will the junior top this for her senior prom next year?

"Knowing her, she'll find a way," her sister, Katie, 24, said with a smile.

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