VIDEO — Port Neches-Groves senior uses iconic 90s movie moment for promposal

Published 12:34 am Friday, April 21, 2023

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On April 11, my 17-year-old sent a video that said, “something cool I got to do today.”

The video began with a young man standing in front of a house singing Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” to a young woman. But after going solo with the first few words, he turned around with drumsticks in hand and counted out the beat.

The camera then panned to a trailer filled with members of the Purple Pride Band playing the rest of the song before the soloist asked the young woman to prom.

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My 90s-loving heart immediately saw the reference to the movie “10 Things I Hate About You.” It’s one both me and my oldest son, Colby, love to the point that we often speak in movie lines. So I knew this had to be a highlight of his senior year.

But I also needed to speak with the genius that arranged the coolest promposal (a proposal to prom) I had ever witnessed.

Carsen Barrett, who is also a senior at Port Neches-Groves High School, had been planning the moment for years.

“Two years ago (Olivia) told me her favorite movie was ‘10 Things I Hate About You,’ so I immediately watched it,” he said.

The two weren’t dating at the time. But knowing it was a possibility, he began thinking about what would take place two years later.

“I saw the scene; it was the grand gesture,” Carsen said. “I love movies, so I was, like, I am definitely, 100 percent going to do that.”

He attempted something similar but less involved in 2022.

“I did one last year and it was also ‘10 Things I Hate About You,’ and on my poster it said ‘10 Things I Don’t Hate About You,’” he said. “And I got a lot of flack for it because they did not understand my romantic genius.”

But there was no mistaking it this time.

On the day I saw the video, I asked Colby why he didn’t tell me so I could cover it.

“I didn’t know about it until the day of,” he said. “He had come up to me a week or two before and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to do a promposal for Olivia. Are you in?’ And I was, like, ‘yeah.’ But I didn’t actually know what was going on until the day of.”

No one did.

Carsen said in order to keep things secret, the 37 participating band members weren’t told until 30 minutes before arriving at Olivia’s house. They rehearsed four times before playing on her street.

Carsen Barrett’s promposal to Olivia Zeig secretly included 37 members of the PNG high school band. (Courtesy photo)

“She was super surprised,” Carsen said. “I told her mom, and then I actually grabbed her little sister after school and put her on the trailer. It was almost spoiled last second but we overcame it. It definitely worked out better than I thought it would.”

Colby said, “Everyone was in a really good mood on the way there, and everyone really enjoyed themselves while doing it. It was just a really nice vibe.”

But the party didn’t stop there.

As they left to return to the school, the music continued.

“It started with Cody (Tedder) playing ‘Cherokee’ after the promposal as a joke, and then as we left, someone else was, like, ‘hey, play this.’ And it just spiraled out,” Colby said. “I think everyone just secretly missed football season, so we found an excuse to play.”

Residents could hear the trailer approaching from blocks away.

“They were coming outside and taking videos,” Carsen said.

And it was an extra special treat for one young Indian.

“We played ‘War Chant’ when we passed (Port Neches Riverfront Park), and there was this one little boy that came up and started crying,” Colby said.

The seniors will have their final prom Saturday.

“I was looking forward to the promposal,” Carsen said. “I’m a senior so I guess I’m just trying to find things to look forward to. I’m just looking forward to the whole night. Before, we’re going to eat and then, fingers crossed, we get Prom King and Queen. That is my goal.”

Monique Batson is Port Arthur Newsmedia editor. She can be reached at