Extravagant prom proposals have become somewhat of a tradition at Stuyvesant. Every spring seniors do everything from rolling out red carpets to making secret plans with their teachers in order to astounded their potential dates into accepting. While some of these proposals are conceived months ahead of time and others are barely planned at all, they never fail to add extra excitement to the end of the year. Here are some of this year’s hits.
Eric Chen and Katharina Fung
Eric Chen, who met his prom date, Katharina Fung, at the beginning of senior year, said he knew for “one to two months” exactly how he wanted to ask her to go to prom with him. The only issue was figuring out when to do it.
“I was just thinking about things and then I was like, ‘Wow it would be great to write a story that’s [really a proposal].’ I just thought it was something I should do and I ended up taking more time thinking about when I should do it, not how I should do it,” Eric said.
Eric settled on a sharing day in English teacher Annie Thoms’s second period Writer’s Workshop class. The assignment was to write a rumination paper in which a quote from Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” was analyzed.
“So I wrote a story about a guy who wanted to ask a girl out but couldn’t figure out how. As the story went on, it became more and more obvious that the guy in the story was me. And then the story takes the guy to an English classroom where he’s sharing a paper and reads ‘Katharina, will you go to prom with me?’” Eric said.
As he neared the end of the piece, Eric started to get more and more nervous.
“I had no idea of how she would’ve reacted,” Eric said. “I was actually kind of afraid she wouldn’t realize that she would have to fill in the blank and then things would’ve been really awkward.”
Katharina was shocked. Though she had picked up some clues that Eric was going to ask her to prom that day—he even told that he was excited before they went in to class—she was not convinced.
“I was writing my sharing day note while he read so when he was talking I wrote, ‘That’s so cute! Your friend should’ve done that!’ And I guess that’s pretty ironic since it was meant for me,” Katharina said.
Despite all of the thought she put into how she would react and what she would say, “all I could really do was try to stop smiling and answer yes,” Katharina said.
After Katharina accepted, the whole class broke into applause and someone gave Eric a high five.
“I actually stopped listening and writing sharing day notes for a piece or two because all I could do was smile and think about prom and think about how silly I looked not being able to stop smiling,” Katharina said.
Both of them are extremely excited for prom, even though Eric hasn’t gotten his tuxedo yet.
Michael Scheer and Elina Bystritskaya
Michael Scheer, who has been dating Elina Bystritskaya since Valentine’s Day, knew that Elina “adored” their English teacher, Mark Henderson. So for his proposal, he got Henderson in on the plan.
“I came up with the idea earlier that day in Mr. Henderson’s class,” Michael said. “I ended up talking to a friend about my prom proposal. Eventually a lot of girls and Mr. Henderson all wanted to help me and we planned it for later that day.”
That day, Mr. Henderson gave minutes in Elina’s class and at the end of minutes when it was time for the gift, “he casually strolled over to the board and said something about ‘and for my gift’ and then shoved the sliding board to the far end of the board with a huge thud,” Elina said.
Behind the sliding board in huge letters “ELINA: PROM?” was written.
Initially Elina was a little lost. “I remember being really confused about why my name was on the board, then having a moment of panic as to why my English teacher was asking me to prom,” she said.
After the writing on the board was revealed, Michael walked in with flowers and gave Elina a hug, which cleared everything up.
“It was wonderful,” she said.
Elina said her only criteria for Michael’s prom proposal was that she wanted to be able to “look back on it in ten years and remember it as being cute.”
For his part, Michael was nervous to ask Elina in such a big way. He also felt the pressure to have a good prom proposal, even though he knew that Elina would say yes anyway.
“I was very nervous. I don’t like performing and this is basically a performance,” Michael said.
The big proposal paid off. “I would obviously say yes no matter how he asked, but I’m so glad he went the extra mile,” Elina said.
Both Elina and Michael are very excited for prom. Elina, who got her dress over Black Friday weekend, says that it has been “calling to her for months.” A photographer friend is going to take pictures of the couple on the High Line before they go to meet up with their prom group.
Donald Ho and Shirley Chen
Unfortunately for Donald Ho, his plan to ask his girlfriend, Shirley Chen to prom did not work out quite the way he wanted.
He wanted to do a Cinderella style proposal. He and four friends dressed in black t-shirts had planned to enter Shirley’s eighth-period economics class to perform the proposal.
“As we walked to the classroom a student inside the class came out and waved at us and shouted something but the excitement and the noise from the crowd behind me blocked out all audible sound,” Donald said.
The group kept walking and when they got the classroom, they realized she was not in the room.
“I turn around and I see her staring at us and I was just speechless,” Donald said.
But before he could propose, mathematics teacher Ashwin Jaishankar kicked Donald and his friends off the floor.
After regrouping, Donald decided to continue with his plan, even though he had lost the element of surprise. They went back down to the classroom and this time Shirley was in class.
“[Donald] gave someone in the classroom a set of speakers that played some sort of trumpet entrance music. He had a bunch of his friends dress up in black v-necks and they were on their knees opening the door and they rolled out a red carpet and he came in with two of his friends,” Shirley said.
They then read a Cinderellian proclamation, saying that the girl whose foot fit the accompanying slipper would go to prom with Donald.
Two girls were called up to the front of the room to try on the shoe before Donald, who was wearing a bowtie and a blazer, took the shoe to Shirley’s desk, where she tried it on. He then asked her if she would go to prom with him and she said yes.
“I was trying to think of something that no one else in Stuy has done yet, at least not that I know of,” Donald said. “The usual P-R-O-M signs and stuff like that was to generic for me.”