WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) — The preschool class at Solomon Grade School is one of many classes Tuesday filled with hearts and sweets for Valentine’s Day, but it was their role last week at a school assembly where they helped by pitching an announcement love.
Eighth grade principal Amber Fouard said, “Here come all these little preschoolers with letters on their shirts, and I’m like a little letter parade. How natural for preschoolers. Then when the teacher came out with the W on her shirt, I was like, “Do you want…” and she hit me.
Fouard and Eric Blomquist are longtime friends who have fallen in love. They attended the same high school but were different grade levels apart.
“They grew into a relationship supporting each other through some tough situations, and then it just grew from there. A true friendship first,” Fouard said.
Blomquist added: “It was completely unexpected. I told Amber that she will never get married. I’d been married once and said never again, and I guess it’s never been that long, that’s what my dad always said when I was growing up, and he was right again.
For some time, Blomquist has been thinking about asking this question.
“It originally started because I had asked Amber, and admittedly jokingly, a few times to marry me, and she said, ‘You’re not serious. You have to do better than that.’” She said, “I’ve never even had a ring.”
She got that ring last November and started planning. When plan A failed, he gave way to plan B.
“I know that by marrying Amber, I’m marrying a school.” Bloomquist said, “Kindergarten is her passion. She loves all kids but kindergarten, she truly believes that if you start kids right, school will be great. So, it was natural for me that, okay, we’re going to get the kids involved.
This is Fouard’s 25th year of education and his first year as a principal. Since the third grade, he’s wanted to be a teacher, so these kids are his life.
“Our world will be a better place because of these guys, and I just have faith in them,” said Fouard. “I do.”
She added: “He knows, he knows me well, that children are my passion because they are our future. That’s who we need to build trust and confidence in, and to be a part of that, that means the world to me because they are truly my passion.
Blomquist took his proposal idea to Nick Owens, the principal of Solomon High School, who has been secretly working to set everything right.
He said, “Nick took over and made sure everything happened and said to show up on Friday, so that’s what I did.”
It was quite a feat, as it involved the preschool class and students from the high school business class who helped print the shirts worn by the preschoolers.
On Friday, preschoolers took to the stage with Ms Fouard standing to one side. Mostly in the correct order, the preschoolers with their shirts saying “Will you marry me?” with Blomquist wearing the question mark. Blomquist then knelt.
“A song that we call our song was playing in the background, and he showed up, and that was the moment where I was like, ‘Oh, my God. It’s really happening.’” Fouard said: “I didn’t realize how loud the guys were until I watched the video again, they were humming and yelling, and all excited, and Eric is giving his thumbs up as a sign of success. It was a great moment. The kids loved it. It is a true keepsake for me that I will always treasure.
Blomquist jokingly said, “To this day, I’m not sure. Did you say ‘yes’?”
Fouard said: “More or less.”
“I looked at you and said, ‘so, is this serious enough for you?’ So, I assume he said yes. Blomquist said, “He took the ring, so we’ll assume it was yes.”
Since a wedding is in the future, Fouard and Blomquist say these kids will be part of that celebration.
Fouard said: “One of my friends from kindergarten came over right after, put her hand on her hip and said, ‘You know, I’m expecting an invitation.’ And I said you’ll be first on the list, sweet pea. They’re part of my life and now Eric’s too.”
The last few days have been a continuous party at school, with lots of compliments.