Lighting the Flame

By: Meghan Kolcum and Megan Ford

Every student in high school is faced with many challenges, some more than others, but what if you didn’t have to take that journey alone? What if you met someone along the way who changed your life. Would you take that road less travelled by with them? Junior Courtney Walker has been dating senior Dylan Saunders for over a year. “It’s [a] fun-loving [relationship],” she comments. “We joke around a lot, but we love each other and we’re always there [for one another]. We’re best friends so we can talk about anything,” says Walker. As for Saunders, he jokingly says, “A lot of affection going on there. She’s pretty attached, but I try to keep her at bay.”  The two spend their time going to movies or just hanging out like any other teenage couple, but they also go rock climbing or to amusement parks for fun.
The question many high school couples have to ask themselves at some point is “What are we going to do about college?” For Saunders and Walker, this is a non-issue. “We’ve already agreed that we’re going to see how things go. It’s not like I’m going to just break up with her because I’m going to college…so we’ll just play it out,” says Saunders. Other couples have similar, creative ideas about how to stay in touch after high school. Senior Jenny Cartwright has known senior Michael Richardson since the two were on the same swim team at age 5. Dating since 7th grade (5 years this April), the two plan to stay connected by writing letters and sending care packages despite the fact that they will not be attending the same college.
Saunders and Walker aren’t the only couple dating between grade levels. Mariam Kolbai, freshman, is currently dating Nick Giuliano, sophomore. While some inter-grade relationships can be rocky, Kolbai believes that hers is pretty stable. “We can tell each other anything and I’m really comfortable around him, so it’s [a] really healthy [relationship].”
“It scares a lot of people, but you might be dating your future husband, really,” states newlywed teacher Mrs. Benedum. She and her husband, Mr. Benedum, met in 8th grade English. “We were watching a movie in class and he moved his books so that I could sit by him. We started doing all of our group projects in English class together,” remarks Mrs. Benedum. Mr. Benedum proposed their freshman year of college. “I didn’t know about it at the time, but he said, ‘I’m going to ask this girl to marry me by the end of the year.’ On New Year’s Eve, we made dinner together and sat down to watch the ball drop, and he proposed right as the clock hit zero,” recollects Mrs. Benedum.
Not every couple meets at school; freshman couple Kyle Ebbets and Marie Rubright met at a local youth group. They have been dating for almost 6 months, and Ebbets is planning quite the gift for his valentine.
Seniors Courtney Young and Ian Spence will be celebrating their one year anniversary on Valentine’s Day. They’ve known each other since middle school, but they both believe they truly met working at Chick-fil-A. Although Young’s favorite date was on their four month anniversary, she’s planning a surprise for Spence to celebrate their year together. “We went to the drive-in movie theatre [for our four-month anniversary]…we ate at Sonic and saw all these movies. It was really cool,” Young commented. But for their one year, “I’m going to take her to breakfast before school,” states Spence, while Young mentions that for dinner, “I’m going to put up lights everywhere and just make it really cute.”
First dates can be scary, but some may find that their favorite memories were of their first date. Anna Bredice and Richie Todd, both juniors, remember their first date as if it were yesterday. “We went to the movies and it was actually kind of funny because there was only one seat so I had to sit on the floor, and I gave her the seat,” reminisced Todd.
In order for couples to remain strong and keep the flame of romance burning, each couple will, at some point, have to jump over some hurdles. Each person in the relationship will face their own trials throughout life; the key to a healthy relationship is learning how to face those obstacles together. “Communication is a really big deal. If you stop talking to each other, if you start keeping secrets, it’s not going to work out,” advises Mrs. Benedum.