When William Tennent student Matt Kelly asked classmate Liz Orfe to senior prom Friday, it was simple, but public, and “particularly sweet,” the school’s assistant principal Dr. Michael Devitt said.
In the school’s cafeteria, as students took their seats and gathered their meals for first period lunch at 10:40 a.m., country music superstar Reba McEntire’s 2009 hit “I Keep on Loving You” began to trickle out of the loudspeaker and fill the room.
Students looked around, confused, but some had an idea of what would come next.
Out of a side room, Matt stepped into the cafeteria with a smile, bouquet of fresh red roses and a handmade poster board sign that read: “Prom?”
Many students stood and watched, some even whipped out their cell phones and hit record, as Matt walked up to the Liz with the flowers and sign. She gave him a long hug and said “yes,” smiling the entire time.
“I knew he was going to do something,” Liz said. “I didn’t know it was going to be this.”
When Liz sat at her lunch table and song began to play over the loudspeaker, Liz knew what was happening and, she said, her eyes welling up with tears.
For Liz and Matt, who have dated on-and-off over the past several years, the song has special meaning.
“Every time I hear the song, I think of her; every time she hears the song, it reminds her of me,” Matt said as Liz, who was still in shock, shook her head in agreeance. “We both love Reba,” he added.
However sweet, according to Matt, the prom proposal almost didn’t happen.
About two weeks ago, Matt heard that Liz had already asked someone to prom.
Last week, when he heard it didn’t work out and Liz was still dateless, he sprang into action and contacted Liz’s friends to help get input on how he should ask her to the duo’s final high school dance.
Her friends suggested the handmade sign. “I was just going to bring flowers and ask her,” Matt said.
After Matt asked and received a yes from the school’s administration for permission to play the music over the loudspeaker, he walked up to Liz’s friend Kaitlin Hare and said, “It’s a go!”
When asked whether it was worth it, Matt said, "It was."
Senior Prom will be held on May 25 at Spring Mill Manor in Ivyland. Matt and Liz said they plan to arrive in a limo and enjoying a nice meal after the dance.