The graduation ceremony at the University of Maine came to a halt, and all heads turned Saturday as attention shifted to a proposal on the sidelines.

“I thought he would do it over a video game,” bride-to-be Amanda Powers, 23, said, “I’ve been joking about (getting married) the last year.”

Powers and her fiance, Alfonza Brooks, 26, have been together for nine years, graduating from Lewiston high school sweethearts to college couple at UMaine.

Powers said the couple had received their diplomas and were heading back to their seats when they stopped to take pictures with their families. That’s when Powers said Brooks put his things down and dropped to one knee.

Not knowing what was going on, Powers just went with it — and then the ring came out.

Powers was there with her parents, sisters, grandmother and her aunt, all of whom were elated.

“I’m so happy I got to see this,” Powers’ 85-year-old grandmother said. 

Powers’ father had to excuse himself for fear the others would see him shed a tear.

Powers, a communications and pre-law major, said she never expected something so grandiose or romantic from Brooks.

Early childhood development major Brooks said the couple had been out ring shopping some time ago, and although Powers never thought she would get it, Brooks remembered the one.

“I planned on (proposing) after graduation,” Brooks said. “I had the ring in my pocket the whole time.”

When Brooks proposed, he said Powers remained incredulous — responding not with a “yes,” but rather, “Oh, my God, are you serious?”

Brooks said the graduation ceremony stopped and everyone applauded.

“It was just the perfect time,” he said.

Both first-generation college graduates, Brooks said Powers had been with him “through thick and thin.”

The couple plans on getting married in the next year or two. Powers said she likes the date Aug. 8, 2016, as the numeric date includes two eights — two symbols of infinity if turned on their sides.

Both plan on continuing to graduate school; Brooks wants to become a guidance counselor, and Powers plans to attend the University of Maine Law School.

Law school may have to wait another semester, though, as Powers is due to give birth to the couple’s daughter at the end of July.

“Our story is unique,” Powers said. “Working hard through high school — working hard through college together.”

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