‘I Do’ has a ring to it

Staff members share proposal stories, students weigh in with their own ideas


Liv Hall, Reporter

Ben Affleck proposed to fellow actor Jenifer Lopez on April 2 while she was taking a bubble bath. News outlets reported Lopez saying it was a very romantic and intimate experience, that it was very private and gave her a “second chance at true love.” 

Several married and engaged teachers at SHS have experienced their own unique proposal. Government teacher Kris Gaug, for example, proposed in a public place. Gaug arranged for a limo to pick up his then-girlfriend from work and take her to the Ritz Carlton (a very nice hotel in Cleveland), where he hand made reservations. She was then led to a room where a new dress Gaug had bought her was waiting for her to change into. After she changed, she was taken to the hotel’s restaurant. Gaug was waiting for her there, and had already given the ring to a chef to put in his girlfriend’s dessert. When the dessert was brought out, Gaug got down on one knee and proposed. 

Principal Brett McCann included his step-daughter, Kennedy, in the proposal to his now-wife, Jennifer. (photo courtesy of Brett McCann)

“It was very cool; the whole restaurant applauded,” he recalled. But that was not the end of the proposal. In the room he had reserved for the night, Gaug had bridal magazines all ready to go so his fiance could start planning. “I knew that she would be excited about that kind of stuff,” he said. 

The next day, Gaug had set up a nail appointment for his fiance, specifically with the ring in mind, so she could “show it off.” 

Some proposals were “nothing crazy,” like English teacher Jackie Ogden said of hers. She shared that her husband, Jason, proposed while they were watching a movie. Their daughter, (freshman Brynn Ogden) was about six months old at the time and was lying between them. Jason set the ring on Brynn’s fingers, and waited for Jackie to find it. Once she did, he asked her to marry him. 

Similar to Ogden’s experience, principal Brett McCann also included his daughter in his marriage proposal. His now step daughter, Kennedy, was also given a ring (but a ring pop) when he proposed to her mom, Jennifer. The couple had just purchased a property for their future home. McCann took them to the property and proposed with Jennifer’s great-grandmother’s engagement ring, which Jennifer’s mother had given him.

Some teachers said they were surprised or “totally thrown off” by their marriage proposal. Math teacher Christine Srp was told by her boyfriend at the time, Ray, were going camping. Yet when she woke up to go camping, Christine (Pellegrino was her last name at the time), was greeted by a sign that said, “Pack a bag for two, take a nap, put on a nice dress, and be ready to go by 3 p.m.” 

Ray then took her to dinner in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Then they went to Mount Washington and proposed at a spot overlooking the city.

Teachers Katie and Ryan Spence were high school and college sweethearts who married in 2002. (photo courtesy of Ryan Spence)

Math teacher Ryan Spence and intervention specialist Brady Marlow both had an excess of flowers ready for their girlfriends when proposing. 

Spence had filled his dorm room with flowers and placed a single rose in the middle of the room with a ring on top of it for his high school and college sweetheart, Katie.

“Then I got down on one knee and proposed,” he said. 

Students will likely remember his wife, Katie Spence, who also teaches math, but at the middle school.

Marlow’s proposal involved first taking his girlfriend to dinner. Then when they got home, he had set up their living room with flowers, pictures of them, and a bottle of champagne. He put the ring box in the living room so she saw it when she walked in. Then he got down on one knee and proposed. He is currently still engaged and is getting married in November of this year.

English teacher Maria Judd’s husband also included flowers in his proposal. He had tried to pick her up from the airport and propose there, she recalled, but his car had broken down. Her dad had to pick her up and her husband had to get his car towed. But in the morning, she woke up to sunlight coming through her window, and in the window was a single rose with a ring tied to it.  “And I got up and went ‘Yes!’” she said. “…I just hugged him and grabbed him and went, “Yes I will marry you!” 

Though English teacher Maria Judd said her proposal did not go quite as her husband, Ed, had planned, they will celebrate their 22nd wedding anniversary June 28. (photo courtesy of Maria Judd)

Students could take cues from Affleck and their teachers’ proposals, though some already have ideas of how they would like the events to play out.

Sophomore Isabella Vazquez said she wanted to be in Bora Bora in a big cabin. She wants roses in the shape of a heart with a candle pathway leading to her future husband “on the knee with a big diamond blinger.”

Mari Fojas and Brady Marlow capture a moment while chaperoning SHS’ prom. Marlow, an intervention specialist here at SHS, and Fojas, are currently engaged and are planning a November wedding. (Polly Dierkens)

Freshman Harmony Brown, however, said she wants something a little more subtle. She described her dream proposal more similar to Lopez’s:, nothing big, not at Disney World…she said she wants to be “just chilling in the house, making some food, dancing, you know, in the living room, and then they just pop the question.”

Senior Kristen Morgan said she wanted it to be somewhere important and a total surprise. She “doesn’t care if her nails are ratchet” because she wants to go on vacation and get her nails done after. 

Boys interviewed had much more vague and simple answers.

Freshman Jeremy Taylor said he would “make it romantic,” take his girl on a date, get some roses, “then just get on one knee and propose.”

Sophomore Hunter Pollock said he would take his girlfriend on a nice vacation, take her to the beach at sunset and “then, you know, propose.”

Senior Cel Magana may have taken the question a bit too literally. He said he would say, “Honey, I really enjoyed our time in Cabo together, and I think me and you would make a good couple, for about five years, until we get divorced. Will you marry me?”