It’s more than a question

SAHS students share how they asked each other to prom

By HANNAH JOHNSON – Stillwater Gazette

It’s more than just a simple question.

Boys or girls asking one another to prom are going the extra mile to make that invitation to prom as elaborate and extravagant as the night itself.

“It’s expected that they’ll do something special when they ask you or it just takes away from the experience,” said Anna Pedersen, an 11th-grader at Stillwater Area High School.

SAHS’s prom takes place Saturday. The Grand March begins at 3:30 p.m. in the school’s auditorium followed by the student dance from 8 to 11:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul.

As students prepare for prom night, boys and girls reflect on how they asked each other to prom.

Patrick Roth, 11th grade, asked Anna Pedersen, 11th grade. Here’s how: Roth was waiting for Pedersen at the Lowe’s parking lot in the evening. He used cups with candles to spell out “Prom?” while he had his shirt off with her name written across his chest.

“When I said yes they lit off fireworks,” Pedersen said.

Andy Ylitalo, 11th grade, asked Anna Poseergh, 12th grade. Here’s how: Ylitalo spent a month planning how to ask Poseergh to prom. Since it’s her senior year, Ylitalo wanted to make it extra special. He rewrote the lyrics to the song “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder and worked with the Jazz Band to provide the music. When the day arrived Ylitalo left a note for Poseergh to meet him in the band room where he serenaded her in “snazzy” clothes. During the chorus of the song Ylitalo asked Poseergh to prom. Watch Ylitalo’s performance on YouTube at

Steig Peterson, 11th grade, asked Mckenzie Foxhoven, 11th grade. Abby Ellingson, 11th grade, helped plan the spectacle. Here’s how: It was around 10 p.m. on a Thursday night when Peterson, Ellingson and three other boys brought some gasoline, a rope and a lighter. Since Ellingson lives in Houlton, Wis., the group wanted to light the word “Prom?” on fire on a Wisconsin road near Ellingson. Police arrived before the group could light the request on fire.

“The cops told us if we had lit that we would have had to pay $100,000, and I guess it’s a felony,” Ellingson said. “The cops were cool though and they went over safety tips.” The letters remain where the gasoline soaked into the road.

Jeff Burriege, 12th grade, asked Kate Eillson, 11th grade. Here’s how: Eillson was performing in a choir concert at the Stillwater Junior High. So Burriege bought a huge poster board to write his invitation. He sneaked into the audience, threw up the poster board and waited for her reply.

“I asked her in front of like 500 people. Then I went up to her and kissed her on stage. She was very surprised,” Burriege said.

Allie Keenan, 12th grade, replied to Cory Kirby, 12th grade. Here’s how: Kirby was the second guy to ask Keenan to prom. Instead of using words, Keenan decided to show Kirby her decision. She brought Kirby to the park where she spelled out “Prom” using Zebra Cakes – Kirby’s favorite dessert.

“That’s how I wanted to show him I chose him,” Keenan said.

Rob Click, 12th grade, asked Mary Hooley, 11th grade. Here’s how: Click assembled eight guys from choir to serenade to Hooley in front of her entire math class. The ensemble sang “My Girl,” but replaced some lyrics fitting for prom.

“I got the idea because every Valentine’s Day we have serenades,” Click said.