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'I knew he wanted to go to prom!'

Courtesy photo
Ryanne Michael and her date, "Justin Bieber," at the Petersburg High prom.
Courtesy photo
Ryanne Michael slow-dances with her date, "Justin Bieber," at the Petersburg High School prom.
Watch a YouTube slideshow of Ryanne Michael's prom date with "Justin Bieber" here: CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Like teenage girls everywhere, Ryanne Michael said, "I always dreamed of my senior prom with the perfect date."The 18-year-old bought a beautiful blue gown months ago, but had no date to the Petersburg High School prom.She had been asked to go, and then the boy changed his mind three days later. He had a track meet on May 5. "That's a guy for you," she said.During a phone and email interview, Ryanne said she was going to go anyway with girlfriends. After all, she is a senior and will be among the 136 students graduating later this month from the Grant County school.Then, while lying in bed on the morning of the prom, it occurred to her. Why not Justin? He was available, good looking and low maintenance -- if a bit stiff. "I knew he wanted to go to prom!" she said.And that's how her life-size cardboard cutout of Justin Bieber ended up as her date to the junior-senior prom."I had always wanted to go with him anyways," she said.She dressed him up with a bow tie borrowed from a friend of her mother's.
He was a hit. "All my friends danced with him," Ryanne said. "He slow-danced with me.Then the DJ dedicated a song to Justin Bieber and his date. "We danced to the song 'Boyfriend' by Justin Bieber," Ryanne said.But first came the catered dinner, held in a former Foodland, where the juniors had done "a wonder job" decorating to the theme "A Walk in the Park."Then it was off to take photographs in the park -- in the rain. "Unfortunately, he started to melt," Ryanne lamented.Between the rain and all the dancing, Justin was pretty damaged when Ryanne carried him away after the last dance.Her friends urged her to keep him in the car during the post-prom bowling party. "I said he has made it this far, he can make it the rest of the way," she said.
After graduation on May 31, Ryanne is going to Europe for 10 days with her godparents. Then it's off to WVU, where she plans to major in speech pathology.As for her date, she admits he's pretty rough-looking now. "He can barely stand."Reach Rosalie Earle at or 304-348-5115.
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