The New York high school senior who was asked to prom with the help of players from his beloved New York Jets says he is still “speechless” but has an idea for how to continue the fun at his prom in June.
“I’m thinking about wearing a green and white tux,” said Mike Pagano, 18, a Jets fan since the age of 7 when he started going to games with his dad.
Pagano was sitting in his health class at Division Avenue High School in Levittown, New York, Wednesday morning when the high school’s daily morning announcements shocked him.
Included in the announcements was a 30-second video featuring nine Jets players, all asking Pagano to go to prom with his friend and fellow senior, Sarah Kardonsky.
After the video, Kardonsky appeared in person, dressed in a Jets jersey, like Pagano, and got the answer she wanted from Pagano: yes.
“I didn’t really have a lot of words to say,” Pagano told ABC News. “It’s amazing that someone can go out of their own way and make an impact on my life. It’s pretty special.”
Kardonsky, also 18, had already said yes to another prom date, Steven Bornstein, but decided to ask Pagano to the dance when she realized he did not have a date. Bornstein, she says, would still have time to ask someone else to prom and he, “supported it and wanted to do something special for Michael, too.”
Knowing that Pagano is a huge Jets fan, Kardonsky reached out to over a dozen Jets players on social media beginning last Monday. She said she heard back from the first player, Jets’ wide receiver Saalim Hakim, “within minutes” and soon had enough videos to edit together the 30-second clip herself.
“They were all cheering and clapping and taking pictures,” Kardonsky said of her classmates’ reaction. Kardonsky and Pagano have fielded dozens of interviews since the prom proposal went viral and this morning appeared together on the NFL Network.
“I’ve known him for a couple of years,” Kardonsky said of Pagano, who describes himself as having high-functioning autism. “He would always wave to me and he was a nice guy.”
“Now we’re closer,” she said.
Pagano’s favorite Jets player, Muhammad Wilkerson, did not appear in the video but Pagano is not concerned. Being on the receiving end of a viral prom proposal video has made Pagano, who described himself as “very thankful,” a star in the way perhaps most important to a teenager.
“My social media has been blowing up for me,” he said.