DECATUR — Tanner Heick is a senior at Lutheran School Association and wanted to make one of his last events memorable -- not only for himself but for someone else.
He wanted a special way to ask his girlfriend, ClaraAnn Keane, to prom.
"Promposals," or elaborate ways of asking someone to the traditional year-end dance, have become popular in recent years, with teenagers across the country using everything from balloons and flowers to skydiving to woo their dates.
“It is a big trend,” Heick said. “Everybody is trying to make theirs the most memorable or the most sweet.”
The couple had already discussed going to the prom this year, but Heick didn’t want to ask his girlfriend in an ordinary way. After noticing a friend’s birthday advertised on the Lincoln Square Theatre marquee, Heick researched this option for the unique request. “I wanted to do something original,” he said. “And it’s the senior prom. You might as well go all out for it.
Keane graduated two years ago from LSA, but still kept in contact with her alma mater. She began dating Heick a year ago, just before last year’s prom. “But we didn’t go,” he said. “We had just started dating.”
Heick was going to make this year special. He contacted the theater owners and found a personal message on the marquee would cost only $50. “That’s pretty reasonable,” he said. “And I didn’t have to hang up the sign or anything.”
He chose Easter weekend to display his question, although the young lady would be visiting family in Peoria when the marquee was completed. “I was worried someone would text her the sign,” he said.
The Keane family returned to Decatur on North Main Street, stopping at the theater where Heick was waiting under the marquee with flowers in hand.
Keane likes surprises, her boyfriend said, so he knew it would go well.
And she was surprised. “Because I forgot it was prom season,” she said.
The attention the couple has received has also been surprising. “We are famous now,” Keane said. “And our friends think it was cute.”
Heick’s plans for prom is more subdued than the promposal, with dinner at a nice restaurant. “And I’ll see if my uncle will let me borrow his nice car,” he said.
For many high school students, prom is an opportunity to have one more good time with their friends. However, the couple hopes to have a bit more alone time. “This year he wanted just the two of us for prom,” Keane said.
Heick said he likes to do nice things for his girlfriend. “She deserves it,” he said.