Teachers share Valentines memories

Maggie Thornsberry and Carly Wanna, Karen Jarrard, Kaitlyn Neel, David Matlock and Rania Akbar

Hearts have a way of finding each other.

John Watkins met his wife, Dianna, at church. Ann Dromsky was matched with her sweetheart on a blind date in Italy. Griff Ethridge fell in love with his future wife when he was student teaching. Frank Katz and Tyler Brown met their spouses in college.

First-year English teacher Dr. Dromsky was in Rome, Italy, when she met her husband, David.

“I was studying abroad, and he was on tour with the United States Naval Academy Glee Club,” she said. “I attended his concert, and met him on a blind date.”

This August, they will celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary. Their daughter, Carolynn, is a junior at Stratford.

Dr. Dromsky said she and her husband have spent nearly half of their Valentines Days apart because of his military deployments.

“One time, he called on a Marine satellite phone from a remote hillside in Afghanistan,” Dr. Dromsky said.

She said most of the time they try to do something “small and thoughtful” for each other on Valentines Day.

“David usually writes something sweet,” she said.

Another English teacher, Dr. Frank Katz, said Valentines Day is just another day on his calendar.

“We barely observe it at all. Nothing special,” he said.

His wife, Mrs. Sarah Walcott, is a second-grade teacher at Stratford. They met in college, when they lived in the same dormitory.

They dated four years before getting married. They have been married for 23 years and have two children, Nathan, a sixth-grader at Stratford, and Anna Katherine, who is in the fourth grade.

His limited enthusiasm for the holiday does not reflect his commitment to his marriage. He said the key is to “never get bored of the other person.”

Math teacher Mr. Griff Ethridge will be celebrating his 37th wedding anniversary next month.  He recalled the day he first met his wife, Gaye.

He was student teaching with her mother and went to their house to pick up a few lesson plans.  Gaye was 16 years old at the time and he was 22. This led to some hesitation by her mother to let them date. Eventually, a couple of months passed and her mother let him ask her out.

They have two children — a son, Chad, and a daughter, Caryn.

When asked what a happy marriage is he said, “love, communication, giving, sharing, and compassion.”  He said the only tradition they have is to give each other a card. Other than this they do not celebrate. However, this year they celebrated with a Waffle House dinner.  

Coach Tyler Brown met his wife, Amanda, when they both attended Gordon College. Amanda Brown was a softball player.  Coach Brown was a member of the baseball team.

They have been married for three and a half years. They have no children, but their foreign exchange student, Stratford junior Jeremy Li, basically belongs to them.

When asked what the secret is to a good marriage, Coach Brown replied, “Space. Totally kidding, but I think it’s finding someone that you truly enjoy spending time with.”

Coach Brown isn’t big on romantic traditions for Valentine’s Day. “There shouldn’t be just one day that you express your love to someone, but I can’t always use that as an excuse to my wife,” he said.

Technology instructor John Watkins went dancing with his wife, Dianna, after asking her out.

“Our first date was square dancing, and we’ve been dancing ever since,” he said,

They were married the day after Valentine’s Day. They celebrated their 19th anniversary this week.

“The secret to a happy marriage is give and take in all that you do,” he said.