Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School student Abigail Romero celebrated...

Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School student Abigail Romero celebrated her 18th birthday at the senior prom held at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury on May 23. Credit: Rebecca Anderson

It only makes sense that Abigail Romero’s extra-special year would include what amounted to a Sweet 18 party.

And that’s exactly what the Harvard-bound teen got on May 23, as the Walter G. O'Connell Copiague High School prom at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury fell on her 18th birthday.

“I had a birthday breakfast at South Bay Diner with my best friend and prom date, and my family got me a gift and flowers the morning of,” Romero said of the day’s itinerary. “The whole day was pretty packed with appointments, focusing on getting ready — hair and makeup, etc. — so there wasn't much time for birthday festivities.”

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind in general these days for Romero, who despite being the Copiague salutatorian was still in awe when she found out she was Ivy League-bound.

“I was so shocked when I opened my acceptance letter back in March,” she added. “It took a few days for it to all sink in.”

She also found out in March that her paper on post-stroke recovery would be published in the annual Pioneer Research Journal. It was a very personal project for Romero, who lost a close family friend to a stroke a few weeks before she applied to the program.

She conducted the research at Northwestern University last summer, which led to the project, ‘How do Perturbation-Based Interventions Help Reactive Balance Control in Stroke Survivors?”

“I wanted to facilitate a quality of life for those who are post-stroke survivors, which is why I looked into specific interventions,” Romero said, “so in the future we could build better rehab centers.”

On prom night Romero got a birthday shout-out from the DJ that evening — along with some after-party fun with her friends and an IOU from her family for a birthday dinner the Saturday after the prom.

“I was just ecstatic the whole night, and I wouldn't have had it any other way,” she said.

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