Promposals: How 4 teens were asked to the big dance

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By Allison Eatough

Prom season is approaching and that means there will be plenty of promposals taking place outside of Maryland high schools in the next few weeks.

After dating for two years, Danielle LaDue knew she and her boyfriend, Kyle Russell, would attend prom together. She just didn't know how he would ask her.

"I told him I wanted something creative... to be different," says LaDue, a 2014 graduate of South River High School in Edgewater.

And she got the surprise of her life with a public "promposal" at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport last March when she returned from a college visit in Florida. It's something LaDue will not soon forget.

Should you stumble on such a scene this spring — teens holding up letters spelling "prom," plastic cups jammed into wire fences on highway overpasses, or something that looks like a high school serenade — keep in mind that promposals are on the rise. Many high schoolers these days aren't content to merely ask their date to prom. Instead, they concoct elaborate schemes to get their intended date to say yes to prom.

Here are four stories, including LaDue's, of how local students have "promposed" to their dates in recent years.

Promposal2WThe airport promposal

When LaDue returned from the college visit last spring, Russell and seven of their friends were waiting in baggage claim to greet her.

The friends stood in a row, all holding signs that – when combined – read, "Will you go to prom with me?"

Russell, a 2014 graduate of Southern High School in Harwood, walked toward LaDue with a rose in hand. When she said yes, hundreds of strangers surrounding them in baggage claim clapped and cheered.

"I knew she was coming in, and I knew she wanted something big from me, so I figured, 'Why don't I surprise her at the airport,'" Russell says.

And surprise her he did.

"I was shocked," she says. "When you do something special and creative like that, it shows that you really care about the person."

The scavenger hunt promposal

Ellie Lewis made her boyfriend work – and walk – for his invitation to her homschooler's prom two years ago.

Using clues based on their first date, Lewis created a scavenger hunt in downtown Annapolis for her boyfriend, Nate Griffith.

"It took quite a bit of time," says Lewis, a Severna Park resident.

For weeks, she planned the clues, a series of riddles that would lead him to seven destinations.PromprosalEllieNateW

The first clue referred to Jane Eyre, a book by Charlotte Bronte that Griffith likes. It led him to Hard Bean Coffee and Booksellers, where Lewis's sister, Becca, was waiting with the book and another clue. Becca and a friend guided Griffith along the way while recording and photographing the hunt. An employee at Kilwins ice cream shop had one clue and another was hidden in a brick wall on Chancery Lane. The final clue was behind a street sign on a pedestrian island in between two city streets. It read: "The first picture of just the two of us was taken here. Come find me!"

After more than an hour of tracking down all seven clues, Griffith found Lewis waiting for him on the steps at St. John's College's library where she asked him to her prom.

"It was truly one of the nicest and most considerate things that anyone has ever done for me," Griffith says. "I really like a good puzzle. Ellie knew that and did a great job writing all the clues."

Unfortunately, Griffith suffered a concussion while playing lacrosse a few weeks after the promposal, and the couple was unable to attend prom. But the proposal itself provided them with a lifelong memory, Lewis says.

"It was totally worth it and so much more fun than prom would have been," Lewis says.

Photo above: Kyle Russell promposes to Danielle LaDue. Right: Ellie Lewis and Nate Griffith after the scavenger hunt promposal.

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