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    • Lily Panagos ’23 and Mia Smith ’23 ask Ezra Fearon ’24 to prom.

The Promposal: A Diverse Tradition of Love

Hanna Jennings ’24, Anika Madan ’24
Prom is characterized by extravagant outfits, extensive photoshoots, and the possibility of dancing. Before Hopkins Senior Schoolers participate in this rite of passage, however, many find themselves involved in a promposal.
A nationwide tradition, promposals can include anything from a simple poster to an elaborate dance routine as a way to ask a partner, crush, or friend to prom. Each year, Hopkins students’ promposals are recorded and posted on a dedicated Instagram page for the rest of the student body to see. Though prom itself assumed varied forms over the course of the pandemic, this modern update of tradition has endured. Annika Sun ’22 runs this year’s promposal page, @hopkinspromposals2022, on Instagram. Of her decision to create the account, Sun says, “I wanted there to be an open platform for everyone in the Hopkins community to admire the promposals that go on, as many of them happen at sports games or outside of school.” Sun notes that, in addition to the obvious social piece—keeping tabs on who has promposed to whom—“a lot of people love seeing the work people put into coming up with an idea and creating a poster for their date.” From couples to friends, Sun believes that promposals are “a fun way to spread the love!”

Another aspect of promposals that Sun enjoys is how “everyone has the freedom to ask whoever they want.” Friends Ezra Fearon ’24, Lily Panagos ’23, and Mia Smith ’23 exemplify this freedom through the choice to attend prom as a trio. Panagos describes her and Smith’s thought process in making this decision: “We both didn’t really want the stress of finding somebody to go to prom with because, even though we wanted to be promposed to, we knew most of the guys in our grade wouldn’t put the effort in.” Panagos dressed as the Hopkins Hilltopper, and Smith asked Fearon to prom with a poster saying, “2 dates is better than 1... Let’s GOAT 2 prom.” Explains Panagos, “We decided to do that pun because we wanted to make it obvious on the sign that it was both of us asking, and this year I have been the Hopkins goat mascot, so I wanted to incorporate that into the promposal.”

Other students drew on extracurriculars at Hopkins to create their promposals. Luca Vujovic ’23 asked Sydney Matthews ’23 to prom using their joint interest: track and field. Vujovic recruited friends to help him run a 4x50 relay around the track, using the poster as a baton. When he reached Matthews, Vujovic presented her with a poster that read, “I wouldn’t be able to manage without you... Prom?” He explains his idea, “Sydney is track manager, so I thought I’d use a pun involving the word ‘manager,’ and I just thought the relay would be creative and funny.” Vujovic also emphasizes his desire to push the proverbial promposal envelope, saying, “I think promposals are a fun tradition, and I always like seeing the elaborate ones.”

Though he eschewed a pun, Zachary Williamson ’22 also included his interests in his promposal to Ty Eveland ’22, which came during a rehearsal for the Junior School play, Puffs. In the planning stage, Williamson knew the concept needed to be special. He says, “Ty knew I was going to prompose to go as friends and was like ‘My expectations are high,’ so I tried to make it as much of a surprise as possible.” Williamson’s poster to Eveland was a reference both to Puffs and the scoring system in the play’s fictional school: “10 points to the Puffs if ‘yes’ to prom.” According to Williamson, the connection to the play was crucial: “I got our friends involved and veiled it as, like, we were going over a sequence in the play, so we got [Eveland] to come watch.”

As with prom itself, promposals are all about extravagance, creativity, and making people feel special. There are many ways to prompose with the help of puns, flowers, food, and friends. While the methods differ from couple to couple, students’ fascination with promposals is a constant through the spring. Matthews says, “I think they’re stupid and cheesy, but it’s a tradition.”
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