Will You Marry Me?
Marissa Vazquez's first grade dual-language class at the School of Dual Language at Townline Elementary in Vernon Hills couldn't contain their excitement as they waited for Vazquez to return from the school office.
They weren't excited just because they love their teacher and couldn't wait for her to return. Instead, they were excited about what was going to happen.
Vazquez's boyfriend, David Brandt, was hiding in the classroom's bathroom, awaiting the moment when he would drop down on one knee and ask Vazquez to marry him. The well-orchestrated moment included Vazquez's first-graders, who held signs that read "Will You Marry Me" and "Quires Casarte Conmigo"—in English and Spanish because Vazquez's class is a dual-language room.
Brandt said he chose to propose to his wife-to-be at her school because she's a teacher and in light of the recent tragedy in Newtown, he felt this would be appropriate.
"I thought it would bring joy," said Brandt.
Brandt worked with another teacher, Raquel Kim, to orchestrate the proposal.
Kim said she and Brandt talked to Vazquez's sisters to try to figure out the best way for Brandt to pop the question.
"He really wanted the students to be involved," said Kim. "With everything going on with the tragedy, we thought it would be heartwarming."
They devised a cover story—that there was missing money for yearbooks—to lure Vazquez to the school office. In the meantime, Brandt, who had just picked up the ring two hours earlier, rushed to Vazquez's classroom. There, Kim delivered the news to Vazquez's students, who shouted with joy. She handed out the signs to the students, and Brandt selected one boy to hold a pillow with the ring box on it. Brandt then hid in the classroom's bathroom.
When Vazquez entered the classroom, she was confused at first.
"I didn't know what was happening," she said. "I thought we had a yearbook problem, so I was all upset."
Then Brandt appeared and dropped to one knee. Vazquez covered her eyes and wiped away tears as Brandt asked her to marry him.
She said yes, of course.
"I think it makes it even more special that (my students) were a part of it," said the happy bride-to-be.
School of Dual Language Principal Jim Kallieris announced the happy news to the entire school during a special holiday assembly. Students cheered loudly as they watched the proposal video that was projected on a wall.
Kim called the proposal "something beautiful."
"Our teachers are so devoted," said Kim, who has known Vazquez for about nine years. "We always feel our kids are part of our lives. We call them our kids. It means the world to me to see her this happy."