promposal 2

Millard North High School students Ruth Hailu, left, and Connor Jolley, right, stand near the ball fields at Harvey Oaks Park. Jolley and some friends scooped the word "PROM?" in the snow. The question was Jolley's "promposal" to Hailu, which she accepted.

What a cool way to get a date.

While flying over Harvey Oaks Park Wednesday afternoon, officers on Able 1 – the Omaha Police Department’s helicopter – spotted an unusual message written in the snow on the ball fields below. It was one word, but it was enough to get their attention: "PROM?"

“We were just flying and it was as clear as day,” said Officer Matt Baughman, an OPD pilot, who snapped a picture and posted it to Twitter. “He did one heck of a job.”

The “he” in question turned out to be Connor Jolley, 16, a junior at Millard North High School.

He knew whom he wanted to ask to this year’s prom, but he didn’t know how.

“I wanted to do something big. My friends said ‘You have to send a big message,’” he said. “So I thought ‘I could literally send a big message.’”

To do so, Jolley recruited the help of three of his fellow students and friends - Dalton Douglas, Anirudh Patchipulusu and Sheng-Jie Lim. At 5:30 p.m. last Friday, the foursome set out to the park and created a stencil of each letter by walking an outline in the snow. On Saturday, the young men shoveled the snow out from each letter to form the important “promposal.”

The word measured at roughly 117 feet tall, Jolley estimated. It took the four friends more than four hours to complete the snowy masterpiece.

“It wasn’t so bad to start off with, but by the time we were done, none of us could feel our hands,” he said. “All of my friends said that if she said ‘no,’ they would have been mad that I made them waste four and half hours of their weekend.”

On Sunday, Jolley invited Millard North student Ruth Hailu to the park for a “big surprise.”

“I told her to cover her eyes and we walked out to the field,” he said. “I showed (the message) to her and asked her. She was really happy and immediately said ‘yes.’”

Afterward, the young couple went on their first date: a trip for coffee. Jolley said he is looking forward to his April 23 prom date.

Almost a week after his “promposal,” Jolley said he was surprised to see Baughman’s picture of his handiwork on Twitter.

“I’m glad somebody else saw it,” he said. “When you’re driving by the park, you can see something is carved out, but it’s hard to read.”

Baughman said the young man’s message was a first for him.

“I’ve been doing this for nine years and I have never seen anyone do that before,” he said.

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