Local high school students put their creativity to the test this year, as many dates were asked in a special fashion for prom.
Wapakoneta High School senior Josh Windle wanted to ask his date to prom in a unique way because she has never been to prom before — as her country does not practice the tradition.
Windle asked German exchange student Cathrine Thams during a class they have together at the school.
“I thought I should do something special, since she’s not from here,” Windle said. “I wanted to make it a good memory for Cathrine.”
Windle and Thams are in the same math class with teacher Shelley Koch.
On Valentine’s Day, Windle asked Koch if he could go to the guidance counselor during class. She allowed him to go, and he then went to his car in the student parking lot to get a large cardboard box.
“When I did this I told my friend to get 12 roses out of my locker,” Windle said.
Four people lifted Windle into the box, and his friend gave him the roses, and the box was delivered to Koch’s classroom.
“One of my friends said, ‘We have a delivery for Cathrine,’” Windle said, retelling the story.
Cathrine had no idea what it was, but she was a little suspicious.
“I noticed he wasn’t in the room anymore,” Thams said. “So I opened the box. I didn’t expect to be asked like that. I was excited.”
Windle jumped out of the box with the roses in his hands, while donning a white t-shirt that said “Prom?” in red duct tape.
Thams noted she has never been asked to prom before, especially in this way, because she does not have prom in Germany.
“My friends from home were excited,” Thams said after she told them what had happened.
While Thams said she was excited to be asked, she said she was not sure what to expect when she attends prom.
Windle is also excited about prom.
“I’m excited,” Windle said. “Last year I didn’t have a date and it was kind of a bummer.”
Windle’s favorite part of prom he said is that since it is his senior year will be the fact all the juniors and seniors are together one last time.
Thams will be returning back home to Germany in June, and this fall Windle will be attending the University of Toledo and hopes to study abroad, so he can visit Thams.
Junior Austin Scott also had a creative way to ask his date, Taylor Wohlgamuth.
“Austin asked me to prom in between the third and fourth quarter of a varsity basketball game,” Wohlgamuth said. “I am a Wapak varsity cheerleader and he came out on the basketball court and held up a big glitterly sign that said, ‘Taylor Prom?’ and the whole crowd stood up and applauded him.”
Scott asked her during the first Wapakoneta varsity basketball game in February.
“The night before, I got a poster board and decorated it with markers and glitter,” Scott said. “So I took it to the game the next day.”
While the cheerleaders were out on the floor to do a cheer between quarters, Scott snuck into the locker room to get his sign. He hid in there so Wohlgamuth did not see it.
After Wohlgamuth was done cheering, she started walking back to where the cheerleaders stand during the game — and as she was doing that, Scott walked out of the locker room with the sign held in the air.
“At first I was shocked and speechless when he asked me because I didn’t really realize what was going on, but I was very happy to be asked in such a unique way and felt very special,” Wohlgamuth said. “I was very surprised that he asked me in such a huge way that pretty much got the whole town of Wapak involved. It was a huge surprise. I didn’t know anything about it.”
Scott said he had caught Wohlgamuth off guard and then used the crowd to help him.
“She was caught very off guard and surprised when she looked up and saw me holding the sign,” Scott said. “Just to have some fun and embarrass her some more, I pumped up the crowd to yell and jump around.”
Wohlgamuth accepted Scott’s proposal as she shook her head “yes,” and then the pair hugged in front of the crowd.
“She was speechless out of embarrassment more than anything,” Scott said. “The crowd’s reaction really made how I asked her cool and fun because they were so jazzed up and rowdy.”
As Scott’s proposal went smoothly, he said he was filled with nerves prior to the act.
“I was super nervous,” Scott said. “I was pacing all over and sweating profusely. I didn’t stop shaking until 10 minutes afterwards.”
But Scott said it was well worth it and a lot of fun, and he was “jazzed” up after she said yes.
“I jumped around and bowed to the crowd as a thank you for getting pumped up and into it,” Scott said. “Everyone was very supportive, and I thanked them for playing along and not letting the secret slip out.”
Scott said he knew he wanted to ask Wohlgamuth in a special way, as it will be her last prom before her high school graduation.
“I wanted to ask Taylor this way because this is her senior year, and I wanted to make her last time being asked to prom very special and memorable,” Scott said. “I wanted it to be surprising, and I wanted to do it in front of a lot of people so it’d be something they’d never forget too. It went perfect to the plan, and I’m glad she liked it.”
Wohlgamuth said she has never been asked to prom in a special way like Scott did.
“I have never been asked to prom in a cute way before so it was really special to be asked in such an extreme way this year,” Wohlgamuth said.
Scott said he listened to many ideas, including ones from Wohlgamuth’s mother and his parents.
“I took some of their ideas and altered them to come up with my own plan,” Scott said. “I didn’t finally decide what I was going to do until the night before I asked her.”
Scott noted his favorite part of prom is the way he asked Wohlgamuth
“It was something really fun and memorable, and I wanted to have the best ‘prom asking’ idea out of everyone in the school, and I feel like ours was the best without a doubt,” Scott said.
Fellow Wapakoneta High School student Zach Holtzapple also surprised his date, McKenna Gerstner, when he asked her.
“What I did was all planned out,” Holtzapple said. “She was going to go to a friend’s house and spend the night, and then after she left, I came to her house and put up a huge sign on her mirror that said ‘Prom?’ ”
In addition, he decorated her bedroom with streamers and more signs.
“I thought my mom was playing a joke on me,” Gerstner said after she returned home from a friend’s house to find her room all decked out with decorations. “She said she didn’t do it.”
Gerstner said the “Prom?” sign had three check boxes, which were yes, no (yes) and maybe (yes).
“I was really excited,” Gerstner said. “I was hoping he would ask me in a special way.”
Gerstner said she was so happy, that she jumped around and then called Holtzapple right away to give him her answer.
“She called me up and I came right over,” Holtzapple said. “I like to be the person to come up with my own ideas.”
Holtzapple said he likes to surprise Gerstner because she likes surprises.
“She was really excited,” Holtzapple said. “Probably one of the happiest times I’ve seen her. She wanted me to come over right away and give her a big hug.”
Holtzapple had this idea planned out with her parents, as they allowed him to come to the house and decorate her room.
“My mom told me he said he would be back with the streamers,” Gerstner said, recalling what her mother told her the next day.
Before Gerstner left for her friend’s house prior to Holtzapple’s surprise, Holtzapple was over, and as they both were leaving her house, he told her parents he would be back with the streamers.
The couple went with a group to prom, and Gerstner said she was looking forward to promenade and Holtzapple said he likes the idea of everyone getting dressed up, and enjoys after prom, because he has the chance to win money and hang out with friends.
Wapakoneta High School senior Brad Severt also used his creativity to ask his date, Katie Copeland, to prom.
“I asked Katie to prom by spelling ‘Prom?’ with lit tea light candles,” Severt said. “I decided to ask her in this way because I was looking for a creative way to ask her that would stand out.”
Severt said he got the idea from a friend who saw a picture of it somewhere.
“After she said yes I was happy she said yes and excited to go to prom with her,” Severt said.
Severt said his favorite part of prom focuses on camaraderie.
“My favorite part about prom is just being with all my friends,” Severt said, “and spending time with them all night.”