It took eight years, a friend’s engagement party, a crazy license plate coincidence and a ride to the airport to make it happen, but eventually, former prom king and queen Bryan and Helen Savage wound up together. Here’s how it happened...
Comsewogue High School, 1978. Prom was just around the corner. Helen Kratsas, a cheerleader, was planning to ask a football player named Bryan to be her date. They had been friends since ninth grade, but Helen wasn’t sure if he’d say yes.
“I asked a friend, ‘Do you think Bryan would go to the prom with me?’” she remembered. “And he was like, ‘No, absolutely not,’ because I had dated his good friend.”
Bryan added, “Even though they broke up, I wouldn’t even consider going to the prom with her. Out of, you know, the guy code.”
So, Helen and Bryan went with different dates. But by the end of the night, they ended up dancing together — when they were crowned prom king and queen.
Helen laughed when their names were called. “I thought it was funny because I’d wanted to go with him anyway!” she said. “We danced and it was pretty comical, I thought. He was very shy at the time.”
Bryan said he hadn’t expected to win. In fact, when his name was called, he said that both his tie and cummerbund were undone and he had to quickly get himself together before accepting the crown.
“It was definitely a surprise,” he recalled with a laugh.
After graduation, Helen and Bryan went their separate ways. She attended SUNY Brockport and studied psychology, but got bitten by the “travel bug” and later became a flight attendant. Bryan headed to Guilford College in North Carolina to study physical education.
Their story could have ended there, but eight years after graduating from Comsewogue, a mutual friend’s engagement party brought the former prom king and queen back to Long Island.
“We hadn’t seen each other since high school,” Helen said. “He was going back to the airport the next day and I worked at the airport and I said, ‘Let me give you a ride.’”
The signs were everywhere, literally. Bryan was shocked to see that on Helen’s car, the letters on her license plate read “BBS.” His initials.
“I was like, woah, another connection there!” he said.
On the way to the airport, Helen said they chatted and “really hit it off.” Bryan added, “We just had an immediate friendship and a connection.”
He moved back to Long Island for the summer to work with his brother. He and Helen started dating and then, in 1988, they finally became Mr. and Mrs. Savage. The royal couple now has two children, and their daughter, Stephanie, was crowned homecoming queen when she was in high school. The Savages now reside in Rocky Point.
Helen works as a travel agent, and Bryan is wrapping up a 30-year career teaching special education in the William Floyd School District. The couple will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in May.
The question remains: If Bryan could do it all over again, would he have taken Helen to the prom?
“Nah,” he said, as he and his wife laughed. “I’d still honor the guy code.”
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 email@example.com.