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Originally published June 10, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 10, 2008 at 11:08 AM

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A little brother with a big heart takes his older sister to the prom

Agustina Perez missed her own prom at Chief Sealth High School two years ago. So her brother Pedro Rogers treated her to his.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Dancing was the most awkward part of the night, so Pedro Rogers and his date avoided the slow songs.

While the other seniors, feeling glamorous in their tuxedos and strapless dresses, tenderly clung to their dates, Rogers and Agustina Perez spent much of their prom night laughing and teasing each other -- as siblings often do.

Pedro said he has always looked forward to his prom night, but, when it came time to find a date, the brawny Chief Sealth High School football player was quickly diverted by his mother.

Tina Rogers said that as she watched Pedro and his sister Cynthia go through their final weeks of high school, she couldn't help but think about her older daughter, Agustina, who missed her own prom two years ago. Tina Rogers and her mother, Rita Rios, suggested to Pedro that he take his older sister to his prom. He agreed, but wanted to keep it a secret until he asked her.

Agustina was five months pregnant when she dropped out of Chief Sealth two years ago. The thin brunette with big eyes and a cautious demeanor said that when her class headed to the prom in 2006 she was too busy to go, getting her GED and preparing for her first child. But, like her mother, she grew a little wistful when she heard her siblings talk about their last high-school dances.

Agustina, 20, leaned close into the bathroom mirror at her parent's South Park home Saturday afternoon, getting her shimmery eye shadow just right. She said that both she and her husband were speechless when Pedro asked her to the prom.

"I thought he was joking," said Agustina, a Burien dental assistant. "I thought he would take his girlfriend or something."

Agustina said she immediately agreed to go, and she and Pedro told their mother the news. Tina Rogers said she cried.

While Rogers said that her youngest son has always been sensitive and overly concerned about making his family happy, Pedro said his sister works hard and deserves to have a good time. He paid for their tickets, which included dinner and dancing at Salty's restaurant on Alki. He paid for dance photos and bought Agustina a white rose wrist corsage with the money he makes as a cashier at a White Center Safeway.

Pedro doesn't think he did anything unusual. Even his 17-year-old girlfriend handled the invitation well. She said he can attend her prom next year.

As Agustina and Pedro got dressed for the dance on Saturday, Tina Rogers and Rita Rios bragged about the siblings. When Pedro and Agustina entered the living room, dressed in matching gray and black evening wear, Rogers and Rios ordered them to line up against the wall and smile for their cameras.

Pedro fidgeted with the buttons of his black polyester dress shirt. His mother reminded him to put on a gold medallion of the Virgin Mary and a silver belt chain. He put on the dove-gray jacket, to complete his zoot suit, and beamed.

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"I don't like tuxedos or regular suits; too many people have them," Pedro boasted. "There are not too many zoot suits."

Pedro said his father, Antonio, took him to Leroy Menswear, to get his suit. Antonio Rogers said he used to buy his suits there all the time when he attended Chief Sealth 25 years ago.

Agustina smiled when her 3-year-old daughter, Cruzita, told her that she looked like a princess. Rogers and Rios kept Cruzita and Marianela, 1, from tugging at their mother's steel-gray gown.

Agustina said it was the first time she had dressed up since her wedding.

On Saturday, the young mother received an afternoon of pampering, thanks to her grandmother. Rios took her to a White Center beauty shop to get her dark hair curled and even handed her money for pantyhose. She paid for both of her granddaughters' prom dresses this year.

"I want her to feel good, to feel very, very special," Rios said as she rocked Marianela in her arms. "She's such a nice mommy, a student and a worker."

After the dinner, dancing and photos, the siblings returned to their parents' house for a party with other Chief Sealth seniors. While the teens kicked off their shoes and listened to music in the basement, eating homemade bean dip and tuna fish sandwiches, Agustina packed up her things and got ready to leave -- she had to get an early start Sunday to prepare for her youngest daughter's birthday party.

"It was fun, but I went home and went to bed," she said laughing.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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