The Biology Class that Sparked Chemistry


image005The clock was ticking. It was 2:50 p.m., and Ashley had not yet arrived at her fourth destination. The marquee would soon flash “SHE SAID YES!” at 3 p.m. before she actually agreed to marry him. Jacob had only one thing he could do— wait.

Turn the clock back 13 years, and it’s the year 2000. Jacob League was a senior with a passion for playing sports, and Ashley Valenzona was a junior involved in USB. Jacob and Ashley had previously known each other through friends and other connections. The two would cross paths in Rick Valencia’s AP Biology class (current DBHS football coach, Ryan Maine, was also in the class.) Valencia’s classroom, Room 416, would become an extremely memorable place for years to follow.

Jacob said that they “hit it off right from the beginning” in an email interview. No romantic connection began at that point for they were only good friends; nonetheless, it did not stop the two from becoming partners in the Prom Fashion Show. But, having no more classes together and being involved in polar opposite activities prevented them from often meeting up.

After maintaining contact for ten more years, Jacob and Ashley made the decision to see each other as more friends in 2010.

A couple weeks before the big day, Jacob contacted Principal Catherine Real to see if he could have access to the classroom where they first met and the marquee to flash a message that would read “SHE SAID YES!” for the proposal. This was not the first time that Jacob and Real had come in contact. Jacob was in Real’s, or Madame Real as he still refers to her, first French II class at DBHS.

When the big day, September 14, arrived, Jacob planned to have Ashley and himself babysit his sister’s children, a reasonable reason for being in the Diamond Bar area since he and Ashley both live in Highland Park. Around noon, the couple exchanged anniversary gifts to clear out any suspicion Ashley might have had. At 1:45 p.m., Jacob had a friend call him and say that he had car trouble, so Jacob could escape and set up for the proposal. Once he left his sister’s house, he called Ashley telling her that the car problem would take longer than expected. He also told her that he had arranged a scavenger hunt for her, since it was their anniversary, nothing unusual since he had sent her out on scavenger hunts before.

The scavenger hunt consisted of four places, each place with a note written on it saying why that place was special to them. The fourth place would be Room 416.

As Jacob waited for Ashley to arrive, he started to become anxious as the clock turned to 2:50 p.m., and she had not yet arrived. Timeliness was of the utmost importance since the marquee was pre-set to flash “SHE SAID YES!” from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. that afternoon. Just minutes before the clock hit three, Ashley finally arrived at the classroom and Jacob breathed a sigh of relief. He positioned himself to sit in the same seat that he used to sit 13 years ago and had Ashley sit in her old seat as well.

Up to the point of meeting Jacob in the classroom with a friend holding a video camera, Ashley did not suspect anything. However, if the scavenger hunt ending with the classroom where they first officially met, Jacob sitting in his seat, and Ashley sitting in hers didn’t give it away, Jacob bending down on one knee and asking her to marry him sure did.

The joyous day filled with surprises continued as Jacob took her to the front of the school and showed her the marquee that read “SHE SAID YES!” With elated smiles on their faces, the new fiancé and fiancée had a night at the Hollywood Bowl with family members to see Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Jacob and Ashley’s love for one another grew stronger over the course of 13 years. In the song “Can’t Let Go” by Earth, Wind, and Fire, the chorus goes, “I can’t let go, Off a love that grows, You’re my woman, baby love, You know I love you, so” Time was truly the greatest friend to the now Mr. and Mrs. League.