What started out as another boring speech class became a memory Jenny Edwards, Josh Markus and the rest of their class will never forget.
Markus took to the podium for his turn to give his artifact speech, but four verses into a poem he was sharing, the business major presented his girlfriend with the artifact of their affection.
Markus, 25, requested Edwards join him at the podium as he began reciting his poem, “True Love, Honestly.”
Reading the verse, “There is no spoken word, no rhyme, no lyric, no verb to express the way I feel so all I can do is kneel,” he did just that.
As the classroom filed with gasps, Markus got down on one knee and took Edwards’ hand in his own, removed a humble white box from his pocket and promptly proposed.
More awwws from the class, and a few of the women even began to cry as Edwards covered her mouth in shock. Then she too had tears streaming down her face as she said “yes.”
Inside the white box was a straw wrapper tied into a knot, a prominent footnote to their first official date.
“I don’t have money for a ring right now,” Markus said. “But on our first real date, we went to Red Robin and I tied the straw wrapper around her finger.”
Edwards, still reeling from the moment said, “I’m in shock. I was not expecting that at all.”
Which is what Markus was hoping for as he prepared his “speech” the previous night.
“I played it off real cool last night,” he said. “I brought her a drink and took the straw wrapper and asked her about the original straw ring and if she still had it. Since she didn’t, I tied this new one.”
“It has always been a joke since our first date. I completely forgot about it though,” Edwards said.
Markus planned the event carefully. Around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, humanities instructor Allison Fournier’s speech class was interjected by Markus’ romantic ambitions.
“He came in between speeches. I thought ‘you are interrupting my class, what are you doing?’” Fournier said as she recalled the events before learning of Markus’ plan to propose to his girlfriend during his own speech that was due later that day.
“He took me out to the hallway and I was nervous there was something wrong,” Fournier said. “He told me what the plan was and I said okay, anything you need to do!”
According to plan, Markus was strategically placed at the very end of the list of speakers and sat in the front of the classroom. And the rest is history.
The couple met in 2003, but only started dating a little more than a year ago.
Holding the white box and looking back at Markus, Edwards said, “He’s the love of my life. I wouldn’t change anything about him.”
While Markus got the favorable answer from his fiancé, the jury’s still out about his grade. Fournier joked that she would not dock him for going over time on his speech.