Shalene and I had previously talked about marriage. In fact, we were planning on it. We had a schedule lined up of who would visit when, we made checklists, she bought a dress, but I had yet to propose. Being the traditional girl she is, she said that I had to ask her father for permission before proposing. Of course, I would have done so out of courtesy regardless of whether or not she asked. But that made it particularly tricky for me. How was I supposed to arrive, talk to her dad, and propose, all while keeping it a surprise, when our trips were scheduled like they were?!
It’s obviously really important to the female populace when it comes to all things wedding-related. I knew I would have to figure something out. I started tossing ideas around with my roommates. I jokingly suggested having the kids propose for me, to bring it full circle back to when she had her students get her my number. And then it clicked! Her students! It totally would be awesome to include them, as they “made it happen”. On top of that, she would never expect me to show up to her school. So I checked my schedule, picked a Monday, when my schedule would be most open, admittedly skipped two classes, and drove out to propose.
Shalene is good friends with her vice principal (VP). They went to ISU together, and they currently carpool to work, as neither of them live in Blackfoot. During our nightly FaceTime sessions, I started extracting critical information: the three key students to the whole operation, what the vice principal’s name was, etc., all the while building my plan for a monumental proposal. I contacted the VP and set things in motion. Both he and the principal were in.
I showed up as planned, hid out in the VP’s office, and he went down to Shalene’s classroom. He said that the principal wanted to discuss next year’s curriculum with her (she had submitted material previously that morning). He was to cover her class while she met with the principal. Thinking nothing of it, being fairly routine, she headed down to her office. She’s really outgoing and friendly, so I heard her laughing and chatting with the office staff while walking through the office past my hiding place.
A knock on the door—”The principal’s door is open, so don’t say anything. Follow him and he’ll take you down to her classroom.” We make it to the end of the hall. I walk into a giddy classroom of 8th graders. The VP mentions that he told them that I was coming, but not why, turning the time over to me. I announce that my plan was to propose. Lemme tell you. I have never seen 8th graders so excited as when I told them to get their smartphones out! I assigned half of them to picture-duty and the other half to camera crew. The stage was set.
I hit off to the side in the corner adjacent to the door, the vice principal texted the principal with the go-ahead, and the principal told Shalene that she was needed in her classroom, but that she was to walk down with her and continue to fill her in on her plans for the curriculum. Shalene assumed it was an issue of discipline, and so off they went.
Shalene opened the door to her entire class giggling, pointing their phones at her, the VP sitting in her chair with his camera trained on her. Like a deer caught in headlights, she froze, totally confused as to what was going on, letting out a, “What the….?”
Out I came. She stammered, totally confused, “You’re not supposed to be here.” I got down on one knee, called her by her full name, and asked her to marry me. Her not having caught a hint of any of this going down, everything caught her totally off guard. She described it as a dream, and asked if this was really happening. I knew she would say yes, but doubt flickered through my mind when I wasn’t met with an immediate, ecstatic and resounding “yes”.
But don’t fret—she agreed, and I put the ring on her finger. The hallway was packed with spectators, and the crowds cheered. I wasn’t marrying just any teacher—she’s the favorite. I wrote my phone number and email up on the board, gave the students orders to send me any footage they had, we chucked the deuces up, and blew that popsicle stand. Her vice principal covered the last fifteen minutes of class, while we strode out of that school having never felt taller in our lives.
Needless to say, I’m a legend at the Idaho Science and Technology Charter School. I could practically be their mascot. I’ve brought them so much positive publicity. We were featured in the
unknown world-reknowned Blackfoot Morning News. See: Article pg. 1 & Article pg. 2. A parent thought our story was so cute, that she called the paper. Now, there’s a lot going on in Blackfoot on any given morning, but they found time in their busy schedule to stop by the school the next morning, and we were on the front page by Wednesday. #ThisIsHowWeDo
I owe a lot to the students and faculty. The kids “made it happen”, as we say. The VP was also critical in pulling this off. He suggested sending her out of the class to the principal’s office. He even insisted on driving that week for their carpool, knowing that I would want to whisk her away after school.