Student romances endure past JC

Student romances endure past JC

Alumni Brian and Bethany Harris Olsen, class of ‘90, pose for a picture at the top of Bald Mountain while on vacation in Rangeley, Maine. Beth and Brian began dating their sophomore year and have been married for 18 years.

Shannon Olsen, Lifestyles Editor

Finally reaching the peak of the mountain, Brian Olsen looked over at his girlfriend Bethany Harris. He was impressed by the fact that she was the only girl on the trip who hiked the mountain. He knew in that moment that he was in love with this girl.

Alumni Brian Olsen and Bethany Harris Olsen, both class of ’90, went on Vice Principal of Academics Gary Scholl and English teacher Dick Paaby’s A.W.E. trip to Monongahela National Park during their junior year at JC. That is when the two of them fell in love. “That is when I knew I loved her because she was the only girl that would hike the mountain and she made it all the way to the top,” Brian said.

At Freshman Orientation, all of the incoming freshmen are told that they could potentially be sitting next to the person they will end up marrying. There are approximately 8000 alumni that graduated from JC, and 5% of the alumni are married to other JC alumni. Brian and Beth are one of the many couples included in this statistic.

Brian and Beth started dating May 6, 1988 and on December 17, 1994, after dating for over seven years, they married. They have been married for 18 years and now have five children: Shannon, who is the oldest, triplets Iain, Caleb, and Mary, and Emma who is the youngest.

Over the past 18 years that they have been married, they have created many memories together, but their favorite memory was during the summer of 2002.

Every year, they drive the 12 hours up to Rangeley, Maine for two weeks with their family and while they were on vacation in 2002, they decided to take their five children to Freeport for the day, but they quickly realized that they were not going to shop all day.

Brian found a map and located a beach that was about five minutes from town. They spent the rest of the day at the beach. “I found Popham Beach on the map. We got to the beach just as the tide was going out. There was a perfect sunset. We spent the afternoon walking in the water and collecting seashells with the kids. It was the perfect day,” Brian said.

They have their more humorous memories with their children like when “the triplets decided to bring the Elmo sprinkler into my parents’ basement and turn it on in the house.”

Brian and Beth were not the only JC high school couple who had a happy ending. Social studies teacher Jake Hollin and his wife Amy Sabatino Hollin, both class of ’92, were high school sweethearts. Jake and Amy were close friends their sophomore and junior year and began dating their senior year.

While in college, they spent some time apart, but got back together during their senior year in college. Right after college the two of them got married and began their life together. “Literally within four months we graduated college, got married and moved to the other side of the world for a few years … We worked for the Peace Corps in the Solomon Islands for the first two years of our marriage,” Jake said.

Now, after being together for 23 years, they have had many experiences together from hiking the Grand Canyon to sipping wine at Boordy Vineyard. According to Jake, “My wife is the most intelligent, caring, beautiful woman I have ever met and she surprises me all the time with how hard she works, how fun she is, and how kind she can be. I am even more head over heels for her now than 23 years ago when I first met her, which is hard to believe. She is everything to me and I am grateful to God for bringing us and keeping us together. We really have been given the gift of an epic love story.”

Dave Kelly and Mary Ellen Carpenter Kelly, class of ‘72 also got their fairytale ending. They started dating summer between their junior and senior year and got married in 1975.

Before they began dating, Dave and Mary Ellen were friends. “He was my friend in Mr. Manqaqicks math class” Mary Ellen said. Dave Kelly remembers that one of his favorite memories during high school was when Mary Ellen “used to come watch me play soccer.”

The Kellys have been married for 37 years, and some of their favorite memories since they have been married include their 25th anniversary to Alaska and a family trip to Disney World in the summer of 2012.

Most people think that relationships do not last after high school, but for some, the person they date in high school becomes the person they spend the rest of their life with.

According to Hollin, “Some high school sweethearts work out, some don’t … we are blessed to have our wonderful daughters and to be celebrating 17 years of marriage in a few months.”

Shannon Olsen is a Lifestyles Editor for The Patriot and