Nicole White, a third-grade teacher at Garrison Elementary School, had the surprise of a lifetime Friday when she stepped into her classroom to discover her coworkers, children, and boyfriend waiting for her. It was all part of her grandiose wedding proposal plan.
“Ms. White will you marry me?” students displayed the words, holding balloons, roses, and placards. Nick Driscoll, the man she’d been dating for five years, dropped down on one knee and held out an engagement ring. The classroom erupted in exuberant shouts, tears, and enthusiasm after White replied “yes.”
“I was coming back from a meeting, and someone told me that maintenance needed me in my classroom,” White said. “I walked in and I was in shock when I saw the kids holding up the signs ‘will you marry me,’ then I saw Nick. I am really fortunate to be able to share that special moment in my life with my school family and with my students. They are so important to me. There were certainly a lot of happy tears going around.”
Driscoll contacted Garrison Elementary Principal Beth Dunton a month ago to prepare the perfect proposal, and Dunton claimed she has been in on the secret since then. “Knew how much she loves being a teacher and wanted to include her students in the proposal.” she added.
They ultimately came up with a “devious plan to pull this off successfully” after a lot of preparation, she jokingly said.
White was attending a meeting before class to keep her out of the classroom while her kids were in music class. Once everyone was in position, the maintenance request was used as a pretext to entice her back to the classroom.
“I pulled her into a fake meeting, and our dean of students kept her busy while her fiancé came in and helped set up the classroom,” Dunton said. “We got the kids out of music told them about the surprise. The kids were beside themselves with excitement. Everybody came together for the perfect surprise. She said she had no idea. Everyone, especially the kids, were so happy for her. It’s very clear how much of a great connection they have with her. It was a privilege to be part of it.”
According to White, the class raised a glass of sparkling cider to toast the couple.
“I was completely surprised,” White said. “One of the sweetest things was seeing five students each hold a rose, one rose for each year he and I have dated. It was so emotional for me.”
Driscoll and White met online five years ago while she was home for the summer after teaching in Vienna, Austria. They hit it off right away, according to White, since they had so many interests. Both are daring individuals who like tennis, traveling, and kayaking. They now reside in Manchester, but plan to relocate to the Seacoast in the near future. Driscoll is a pharmacist, and White has been a teacher in the Dover district for four years.
“I am so excited that I get to marry my best friend and partner in everything,” White said. “Today was a truly special day for both of us, and I could not have imagined it any better.”