Karen O'Sullivan-Seifert and Scott Hicks were Long Island prom royalty once. It was 1988 when Hicks took home the crown from Longwood High School. O'Sullivan-Seifert earned the tiara at the Patchogue-Medford junior prom of 1990.
On Friday at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, the two stood side by side snapping photos of their children -- Emily Seifert, 16, and Zach Hicks, 17. A few weeks ago, the teens were excited to learn that they, like their parents, had been nominated for junior prom queen and king of Patchogue-Medford High School.
"I was kind of surprised," Emily said. "I didn’t really expect it. It was announced during second period and I was like, ‘Oh wait, that’s my name!’"
She texted her mother later that day and the two chatted excitedly. Zach said that he too was taken aback. "Honestly I never expect really anything," he said. "I try to fly under the radar."
Zach smiled while recalling his father's reaction when he told him about his nomination. "I want to say it was a cocky, like, ‘Oh look at this guy, filling in the big man’s shoes’ kind of thing," he laughed.
Although Emily and Zach did not win the royal titles that evening, their parents beamed while watching them applaud their peers and later gushed about their achievements. Emily and Zach have been friends since seventh grade. Emily is on the basketball and soccer teams; Zach runs cross country.
O'Sullivan-Seifert -- who wore a ruffled, knee-length navy blue gown to her prom 27 years earlier -- couldn't stop smiling while watching her daughter pose for photos in her royal court sash. O'Sullivan-Seifert has been a communication studies professor at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue for 14 years, and proudly noted that Emily hopes to major in speech pathology or psychology after she graduates.
“Something that involves helping people,” she added.
Hicks, a special-education teacher in Center Moriches, said that next year when Zach is a senior, his daughter will be entering Patchogue-Medford as a freshman. The same age difference separated Hicks and his older brother when they were in high school.
"[Zach] is a great kid and makes us very proud," he said. "It was really easy to raise him. It was fun and it’s actually hard letting go a little bit, you know? Because he’s getting older and he’s moving on to college. It’s a crazy time; you have to take in every moment and appreciate it."