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Love, in Black and White

South Lakes senior places ad in The Connection to ask girlfriend to prom.

South Lakes junior Erin Flattery holds up the ad placed in The Oak Hill/Herndon Connection by her boyfriend, South Lakes senior Jeff Church, asking her to prom. Flattery happily said yes.

South Lakes junior Erin Flattery holds up the ad placed in The Oak Hill/Herndon Connection by her boyfriend, South Lakes senior Jeff Church, asking her to prom. Flattery happily said yes. Photo Contributed

— Before the dress, the corsage, the dinner, way before the last dance, there is the question. And the question is how to ask that someone special to go to prom with you.

South Lake senior Jeff Church of Reston wanted to ask his girlfriend, South Lakes junior Erin Flattery of Herndon, in a different way.

"I wanted it to be something unique. I wanted a lot of people to see it. I also wanted it to be a surprise," said Church.

So, Church took out an ad in The Oak Hill/Herndon Connection.

Spelled out in black and white, with a red heart in the center, the ad read: "Erin Flattery, I love you. Will you go to prom with me? Jeff."

Shortly after making the decision to place the ad, Church discovered that Flattery’s family does not receive The Connection at their home.

Church had to come up with a way to make sure Flattery saw the ad.

"My deepest fear was that one of Erin’s neighbors would see the ad and tell her about it. I really wanted to be there, to see her face when she saw the ad," said Church.

Church decided to leave the newspaper on the seat of his car. After school, Church offered Flattery a ride home, but first he asked, as casually as he could, to flip to page seven of the newspaper that was so nonchalantly resting on the passenger seat.

"I had no idea why he asked me to look at page seven. I flipped to that page and there it was. I had to read it over twice. Then I started screaming. Jeff was still standing outside the car, with a big smile," said Flattery.

Flattery happily said yes to the question posed by the ad. Asked if he thought the answer would be any different, Church smiled a bit shyly, and said no.

photo

South Lakes junior Erin Flattery and South Lakes senior Jeff Church pose together at Reston Town Center. Church placed an ad in The Connection to ask Flattery to go to prom with him.

CHURCH AND FLATTERY MET last year through a mutual friend. In fact, the two went to prom with the same group of friends last year, but didn’t know each other at the time. Both said looking back at the photos from last year’s prom, it seems odd to see the other in the photos as they didn’t really know each other at the time.

A rather somber event was the occasion of their first date. During last May’s Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society which is held at South Lakes, Church said he first asked to hold Flattery’s hand. Flattery remembers that during the event it started to rain and they were moved into the gym, but still she and Church spent the whole time chatting and getting to know one another.

Both Church and Flattery are in South Lakes International Baccalaureate program. Flattery actually transferred to South Lakes from Langley High following her freshman year to participate in the program.

Church is a varsity lacrosse player; he plays midfield. In the fall, he runs cross country and in the winter he does indoor track.

Flattery is a member of the Dance Team. Both participate in Fellowship of Christian Athletes events.

Church will be attending Christopher Newport in Newport News, Va., next fall. But first, this Friday night at the Reston Sheraton, there is prom.

Flattery said she will be wearing a long, pink dress from BCBG; Church said he will be wearing a tux with a matching cummerbund and bowtie. They will have dinner together with friends at Paper Moon in Georgetown.

"I am so excited to go with Erin this year. I think it will be a great memory," said Church.