Before the start of the 2016 Stony Brook School senior pre-prom event, some students attending took a moment to discuss their prom-posals, with one in particular standing out because the young woman who received the special invitation comes from a place where there’s no such thing as a prom.
“The schools where I’m from don’t organize big events like a prom,” explained Sarah Uwandori, a Stony Brook School senior from Rwanda who has been in America for two-and-a-half years. “Sometimes, the kids will throw big parties, but nothing like this,” referring to the elaborate gowns and tuxedos sported by the students filling the school’s quad for a photo opportunity before heading over to The Carltun at Eisenhower Park for the actual event.
". . . We know what proms are back home, because we would see them on American television shows, on MTV, and I always wanted to be in one.”
Fellow Stony Brook School student Samuel Ajewole helped fulfill that wish when he made Sarah his prom-posal choice.
“We’re in the same microeconomics class," he explained. ". . . I purposely left my PowerPoint project undone so I could ask Sarah to the prom. . . she had no idea I was planning it. I came over to her dorm to pretend to ask for her help on the project, but I was hiding a bouquet of flowers behind my back.”
His plan worked.
”Of course!” laughed Samuel to the obvious question. “She said yes.”
Ajewole was not overly affected by having to get dressed up (he wore a black tux with blue tie and vest to match his date’s sparking blue dress), but Sarah was pretty amazed.
She had been to a few weddings, but nothing like Thursday.
“Never in my life have I ever dressed up like this," she said. "It’s a lot of work. But this is wonderful . . . I never thought I would ever have a prom.”