- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (AP) - In a day when “promposals” are all the rage in America’s high schools, sometimes it’s the simple things, the simplest proposals even, that mean the most.

Such is the case with high school students Abby Rose and Wesley Spurgeon.

She’s a studious, well-liked senior. He’s also popular, a favorite among the student body.

As a member of the Muscle Shoals High School special needs class, Wesley, who has Down syndrome, has made a name for himself throughout the district. Always ready with a fist-bump for the coaches and a bashful smile for the cheerleaders, he walks the halls with a “hey” and a wave for his classmates.

At 18, Wesley can attend high school for two more years, until he’s 21. He is classified as a sophomore and will graduate in 2017.

But he began school with the other students his age - including Abby Rose.

“We went to summer camp together when we were little, and we’ve always been friends,” Rose said. “I’ve always had a deep love for special needs kids and Wesley’s just very special to me.”

So when her senior prom season rolled around, Rose didn’t have to wonder who she would ask. It had to be Wesley.

“I just wanted him to have this opportunity to go to the prom like every other kid our age,” Rose said. “The way I see it, the kids in the special needs classes are together a lot but they also want just a regular life and to do all the regular things other high schoolers do.”

So last week, Rose made a promposal poster for Wesley that read, “Wesley, will you go with me to Prom?” Below the words was a picture of the two of them.

She made her promposal at school. His answer was a zealous “Yes” with a hug.

Wesley’s teacher, Lisa Marsh, said he came to school that day knowing Abby wanted to talk to him, but he didn’t know he’d come away from the meeting with a prom date.

“He spent the rest of that day telling all his friends about it, that he was going to the prom,” Marsh said. “He was one excited fellow.”

Marsh said the student body always includes the special needs students in activities, and it isn’t uncommon for some of her students to attend the prom. But Wesley was the first to get a promposal, the newest high school fad in establishing prom dates.

For Rose, it was about providing an opportunity to a deserving young man.

“He wanted to go to the prom, and I wanted me to be his date so I could spoil him,” she said. “This isn’t about me, but all about Wesley. We talked, and he wants to eat first at Stanfield’s in Ford City, and then we’ll take pictures and do all the regular prom stuff. It’s his night, and we’ll do whatever he wants to do. I’m just glad he said yes.”

Wesley’s mother, Patsy, said he has already picked out his tuxedo and made other plans for his date, including presenting her with flowers and a box of candy.

“Abby has always remembered Wesley and taken up time with him, and I’m just tickled he’s getting to go to the prom with this sweet young lady,” Spurgeon said. “She has a kind heart, and this means so much to Wesley and our family.”

Other students’ promposals have ranged from sweet to creative, but regardless, a great deal of thought goes into them.

Many of the ideas come from social websites, such as Pinterest.

High school guidance counselor Sonya Allman jokes that Pinterest “has created monsters.”

“Kids really expect a big deal to be made of these promposals now,” she said. “The pressure is really on these kids to ask in a creative way, and I’m sure it can get really expensive.”

Indeed, promposals can be expensive according to a recent nationwide survey released by Visa Inc.

The survey revealed the more elaborate prom invitations can mirror a marriage proposal and cost a household, on average, about $300.

Factoring all prom costs, the big night can cost upwards of $1,000, which includes prom tickets, attire, flowers, limousine rental, pictures, food and accommodations.

But many students want the wow factor in their promposal minus the cost.

“That’s really the goal, to do something creative and ask or be asked in a really fun way,” said, Muscle Shoals High School junior Bailey Donaldson, who asked her friend, Kam Liles from Lawrence County High School, to prom.

Not wanting to spend a lot of money, she turned to Pinterest for ideas. She quickly found one. With a poster reading “Don’t Make Me Go Solo,” she used red Solo cups to spell out “prom” on the floor.

“I already had the cups, so I just asked him to come over to hang out and I had it all set up when he got there,” she said. “He thought it was funny. And he said yes, so I got a prom date out of it.”

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Information from: TimesDaily, https://www.timesdaily.com/

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