It was the school assembly with the lot: Tears of joy, roared applause and a very big question.
A wedding proposal took one teacher by surprise at Bathurst West Public School’s final assembly for the year, but the other teacher had been planning it for some time.
On Friday, in front of hundreds of people in the school’s hall, Aimee Garland said yes to fellow teacher Ben Mann’s question.
The couple have known each other since Aimee was seven years old, but they began dating only three years ago.
They work together at the school – Ben as a Grade 2 teacher and Aimee as a student learning support officer.
The surprise proposal had been a month in the making with Ben orchestrating a special segment during the school’s assembly, with the help of fellow staff, in which to ask the question.
The plan was simple: A number of students and teachers would talk on stage about what love meant to them in the lead-up to Christmas.
Aimee was among the teachers and she spoke of love being time spent with family, good food and the “big Christmas present that Mr Mann is going to give me”.
I can’t think of any reason why I wouldn’t want to spend every Christmas with her and every day with her.Ben Mann
The microphone was then passed to Ben, who directed his story about love to Aimee, who was still on stage.
“I can’t think of any reason why I wouldn’t want to spend every Christmas with her and every day with her,” he said.
Ben then asked one of Aimee’s former students, Orlando Wooley, 6, to come and help him.
As Orlando walked out, with a ring box in his hands, Aimee’s smile turned to surprise as she realised what was happening.
On bended knee, Ben asked: “In front of our very big second family, will you marry me?”
Aimee’s teary yes could barely be heard over the roar of applause from students and staff, but there was no missing the nod of her head.
After the proposal, the newly engaged couple shared their story of love with the Western Advocate.
“I purchased the ring about a month ago and all the colleagues here at school helped me plan this,” Ben said.
“Everybody helped me and I hope Aimee liked it.”
Aimee replied, “I loved it”.
Aimee said it first “clicked” that something was going on when Ben was speaking about their love in front of the entire school.
“They said bring out Orlando and I saw the [ring] box and I was just amazed,” she said.