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Antioch teacher gets surprise of her life

It seemed just like any other school day to Antioch Elementary School teacher Bethany Solwold, but on this particular Friday, she would get the surprise of her life; and her students took part in the fun.
Solwold, a 29-year-old kindergarten teacher, loves teaching and she loves her students. So much so, that when her fiancé, Ian Dancel, decided to propose, he knew he had to include her students.
“He’s come to visit a few times and thinks my students are a terrific group of kids,” she said. “He wanted to really surprise me, and knew that I would never expect him to propose at school. I was very surprised.”
Solwold remembers it was about 1 p.m. on April 11, 2008. The office called into her classroom and asked that her assistant, Nikki Hargett, bring two of her students, Alexis and Lauren, to the office. “I didn't really think anything of it,” Solwold said.
When the students returned, however, one held roses, the other balloons. “They walked in and handed me the roses, saying they were ‘from Mr. Ian,’ Solwold said. “Then he came in next, along with my assistant principal, Karen Dillon, and my assistant, Nikki Hargett.”
The confusion lasted only a moment as Dancel dropped down on one knee next to her chair and asked Solwold to marry him.
“Since she was expecting me to propose on a weekend in Hickory, I wanted to surprise her by proposing on a weekday in Matthews,” he said later. “She loves her class and all her friends were there, so the setting was perfect. Bottom line, I wanted to give her a great story to tell.”
    “I, of course, accepted and then he put the ring on my shaking hand,” she said. “It was the most beautiful, wonderful day of my life! He also brought a fruit tray for the class.”
Solwold said she was thrilled that her students were able to share this very important moment in her life. “I was so happy that he decided to propose in front of my students. They are such a huge part of my life and I was thrilled that he chose to share it with them and that they were able to help out.”
And her students were excited to be part of the big moment. "When I think about it, it makes me happy,” Alexis said. “It was fun."
Lauren said she enjoyed carrying the flowers and being part of Ms. Solwold’s big surprise. “It was fun."
As for this new husband to be, Dancel said he, too, was pleased with this very important moment in his life. “Everything went off without a hitch,” he said. “Many thanks to the staff at Antioch for helping me pull this off.”

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, Publications Coordinator
Posted: May 22, 2008 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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