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North Central alumni take long route to prom

When Dave Snyder and Barbara Kolbet were seniors at North Central High School in 1971, she turned him down for a date to the prom.

She wanted to be faithful to an older guy she was dating even if it meant missing a major end-of-high-school event. Her boyfriend, who later became her husband, didn’t want to go; “he’d been there, done that,” she said.

Forty-two years later, Snyder and Kolbet are newlyweds, and on Saturday the two were crowned honorary king and queen with smiles and tears as they finally attended North Central’s senior prom.

“We wanted to relive our youth,” she said.

Snyder and Kolbet attended sixth grade through high school together, never dating but often in the same classes. The reason he’d asked her to the prom was because “she was very good-looking and fun and friendly,” he said.

After high school, Snyder and Kolbet parted ways. He married a “few” times. She had two children, Dan and Kim, with Greg Kolbet, who died in 1988.

About two years ago, Kolbet attended a 40th reunion planning meeting, and in walked Snyder, who had just moved back from Arizona.

“I was a little hurt because he didn’t recognize me right away,” she said. “I knew him the minute he walked in the door. He was still tall, dark and handsome.”

At the reunion, the two reconnected. “We talked through the whole evening, and the next morning he called me,” she said. “We’ve been together ever since.”

On March 7, Snyder and Kolbet had a commitment ceremony in front of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign joined by about 15 of their friends.

“We’re really happy for her and Dave; he’s a great guy and they are so good together,” said Dan Kolbet. “It seems like it was something that was meant to be, and a long time coming.”

Sometime last year, “we were sort of kidding around one day and I said: ‘You still owe me a prom,’ ” Barbara Kolbet recalled.

After Christmas, she called North Central and asked if there was any possibility they could attend. Assistant Principal Steve Fisk told her yes, provided they passed a background check. They did.

“I think it’s great,” Fisk said. “We’re excited.”

“I think it’s adorable,” said Jacque Bradley, a senior and member of the high school’s prom committee. “I think it’s pretty cool that NC is giving them this chance.”

Kolbet wore a tea-length mocha dress with a silk skirt, crocheted bodice and jacket. Her pearl wrist corsage was made with three white and two dark purple roses and accents of purple beads, feathers, rhinestones and purple ribbons.

Snyder wore a blue suit and white shirt with a tie. His boutonniere had a white rose with a smaller purple flower.

Like many prom couples, the whole evening was carefully scripted. Before the dance, they went to dinner at Twigs and stopped at the homes of Barbara’s son and daughter for pictures.

“It’s a bit of a role reversal, I guess. It’s sort of a milestone, getting your picture taken with your prom date,” Dan Kolbet said. “But back then they had to take the film in and wait for it to be developed. Now, it will be on Facebook in like three minutes.”

At Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute, where North Central held its prom, the couple took to the dance floor, swaying to a song from “The Lion King,” Chicago’s “Color My World” from 1971 and their current favorite song, Lady Antebellum’s “This Kiss.”

“I’m a graduate of the same school. So is my sister,” Dan Kolbet said. “We both got to go to the prom. It’s a sweet thing to be able to recreate that teen love thing later in life.”

The students cheered when they heard the couple’s love story.

“It’s a great love story,” Fisk said. “It’s like the ones you see in the movies and don’t think are real.”

The sixth paragraph of this story has been edited to correct an error.