Sunday, 24 January 2021 19:43

Epic promposal gives two Raiders a special ‘moment in time’

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Seniors Summer Thompson and Matt Coward celebrate after she said yes to his promposal on Saturday. Seniors Summer Thompson and Matt Coward celebrate after she said yes to his promposal on Saturday.


ROCKINGHAM — A made up flat tire, two families working together and a crane boasting a catchy banner gave two local high school students a sense of normalcy on Saturday night.

Matt Coward, a senior at Richmond Senior High School, stood below a homemade “Friends” themed banner with a sign and a bouquet of flowers as he waited for his good friend, fellow senior Summer Thompson, to come around the corner.

With the sun setting, and when Thompson came down a set of stairs near the front offices of Superior Cranes, she covered a big smile on her face before running down to say “yes” to Coward and accept his promposal.

Above the pair of seniors, the banner read “I know we are just friends,” and Coward’s sign posed the question “but can this be the one where we go 2 prom together?”

“I was totally surprised, a little confused, but also really excited,” Thompson said with a smile. “Matt and I are really good friends and we’ve gotten a lot closer this year. Our families are also really close and our parents are good friends, so it makes sense for us to go to prom together.”

Getting Thompson to Superior Cranes, where her stepdad J.C. Everett is the vice president, wasn’t an easy task. She was under the impression she was going out to dinner with her family but had to make a pitstop to help out her grandfather first.

“I was told that my grandfather had a flat tire and we had to come to Superior Cranes,” Thompson explained. “Then my brother apparently locked himself in the truck, which means we also had to bring an extra key.

“At no point did I expect that anything like this was going to happen,” she added. “Matt did a really great job surprising me with this promposal.”

Summer Thompson and Matt Coward together after she said yes to his promposal.

Thompson’s mom, Karen Everett, along with Coward’s parents David and Nikki Coward, helped the promposal come to life over the last couple of weeks. Matt Coward said the banner was crafted by cutting out and ironing the letters on.

With the help of J.C. Everett operating the crane to hoist the banner, it was a light-hearted moment that allowed two friends to make a memory during their senior year that has been otherwise uneventful because of the pandemic.

“One day my mom, Karen and I just started talking about prom and it was already decided that Summer and I were going as friends,” Coward explained. “Summer and I have always been friends, but we got a lot closer this past year with the pandemic. I think we both agreed that we could have more fun going to prom that way and not having to worry about a date.

“I’m really glad Summer was surprised and said yes,” he added with a grin. “It was hard to keep the secret from her.”

With all students across Richmond County Schools currently learning remotely, there is no guarantee that a senior prom will happen. No final decision has been made by high school officials at this time, but a prom is still in the works, whether it’s a traditional night out or an alternative event like the drive-through prom held last spring.

Coward said there’s been a lot of down time since he’s not able to go to school and see his friends. He explained he could have never imagined missing out on “normal things” like going to sporting events, eating lunch in the cafeteria or participating in events like homecoming.

For both Coward and Thompson, along with the hundreds of their senior classmates, a lot more is also uncertain as the final semester of their senior year unwinds.

Both are avid Raider football fans and will likely not be able to attend games this spring and cheer in the “Bleacher Creatures” section. They haven’t been able to paint their own parking spots, or likely won’t compete or attend the annual powder puff football game.

The other big question is whether or not members of the class of 2021 will be able to walk across a stage in front of friends and family to receive their high school diploma.

“I’m going to stay optimistic that we have a traditional prom,” she added. “I know the school is trying, but if nothing comes through, I know lots of parents will put together something special.”

For Coward, the elaborate plan to ask Thompson to prom provided a sense of normalcy. 

“Our senior year has been shot and we haven’t been able to do much,” Coward said. “This was the first time I really felt like my senior year was normal because this is something high school kids look forward to.

“Summer and I were hanging out recently talking about prom and I joked with her that I was going to give her a heads up when I was going to ask her,” he continued. “That’s what high school kids should be talking about, but unfortunately it’s not.”

Karen Everett explained from a parent’s perspective that little glimpses of happiness and hope like the one with the promposal is what’s keeping the senior class going during times of uncertainty. 

“I think this was important for them because this whole year has been turned upside down for them,” Everett explained. “Everything for the last 12 years that they’ve looked at, from the time they were kindergarteners watching seniors walk down their hallways, they’ve dreamed about all these moments.

“Even if we went over the top and did a little extra, it gave Matt and Summer that normal moment they can take away and remember years from now,” she added. “They’ll look back and remember the promposal and it’ll be that one thing that gives them that little moment in time.”

Richmond’s prom is tentatively set for early May. No official details about the event have been released.

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Last modified on Sunday, 24 January 2021 20:25
Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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