Manchester Valley High School senior Natalie Singer didn’t know what her government teacher was talking about Wednesday. A document had arrived for her from Annapolis?
“She asked me if I had applied for a scholarship from the state,” Singer, 18, said by phone. “I was confused because I didn’t know what was going on.”
The teacher handed her an envelope, which contained an official citation that had been read in the House of Delegates Monday night in the hectic final hours of the 90-day legislative session.
“Be it hereby known to all that sincerest congratulations are offered to Natalie Jane Singer in recognition of accepting the invitation from Steven Robert Priester to attend the Manchester Valley Senior Prom,” the citation said.
It was signed by House Speaker Michael E. Busch Jr. (D-Anne Arundel), with a blank signature line toward the bottom.
“Please sign here to accept,” someone had written underneath.
The otherwise official-looking document was a “promposal” from Priester, 18, who worked as a page in the state capital during the legislative session. The Carroll County teenager wanted to ask Singer to the prom, and enlisted the help of Del. Eric M. Bromwell (D-Baltimore County) to find a creative way of doing so.
Most of the legislative heavy lifting, including a final vote on the state budget, was finished Monday evening when Busch called a three-minute break to allow a committee to leave the floor to take a vote.
Bromwell then asked Busch if it was okay to do something a little different.
Permission granted, clerk C. Rhoades Whitehill read the citation, drawing attention from weary delegates throughout the chamber. Cheers erupted on the floor.
“In a day that can have its ups and downs, it really was my favorite moment of the day,” Bromwell said. “Everybody really got a kick out of it.”
Priester said he came up with the idea while talking to some other pages back in February. “We all thought, wouldn’t that be cool?”
He planned to use an audio recording of the session and actually ask Singer to the prom by playing it for her in the school media center during lunch on Tuesday afternoon. But the he opted to wait a day, so he could first ask her parents’ permission.
Then, on Wednesday, there was a glitch. The school computers wouldn’t allow the playback of the session.
So Priester went to Plan B, enlisting the help of his government teacher, and popping into the classroom just as Singer opened the envelope and read what was inside.
She said she was shocked.
Then she said “yes,” signing her name in the designated spot.