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Teacher proposes at assembly

Published: Sat, December 21, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By jeanne starmack | starmack@vindy.com


111School principal Gregory Bonamase designed a trivia game involving students and teachers, and he wanted to know: Were those teachers smarter than a fifth-grader? Could they pass Santa’s test?

The fifth-grade teachers came to the front of Friday morning’s assembly — accompanied by the thunderous delight of every kid in the room combined.

The teachers competed against one another in teams of two:

“What was the most famous of all Christmas ballets?” Answer: The Nutcracker.

“Where was Mommy kissing Santa Claus?” Answer: Under the Christmas tree. Wrong. Under the mistletoe, of course.

The questions went on, until the last one: “What is the best-selling Christmas song ever?” That would be “White Christmas” — the team of Joe Carbon and Kayla Gerke guessed it for the win.

The two came to the front of the assembly, and a line of students filed onto the stage behind them.

Carbon told the teachers to come up for more questions:

“What’s your favorite part of being a teacher?” Answer: “The students in my class.”

“What will you do over Christmas break?” Answer: “Watch the Steelers game.”

Finally, a social-studies and language-arts teacher named Alyssa DiBernardi came up.

For her, Carbon had a special question. He got down on one knee and held up a small box.

Each student on the stage held up a sign with a letter, spelling: “Will you marry me?” Answer, when she could talk again: “Yes!”

She’d had no idea what was coming. Carbon, with help from Bonamase and schools Superintendent David Cappuzzello, made the secret arrangements. He told Alyssa’s father, Dave, about it at breakfast Saturday.

But Alyssa’s mother, Wendy, a fourth-grade teacher at the school, was as stunned as she was.

“Oh my gosh, I had no idea,” said Wendy. “It’s probably best I didn’t know.”

“That’s awesome,” said Alyssa’s father, Dave. “Joe’s a great guy. She’s happy.”

“This isn’t real,” said Alyssa after receiving hugs from colleagues and from students as they left the assembly.

Carbon said the surprise wasn’t hard to pull off.

“It took a little bit of time, and I was nervous holding on to [the secret,]” he said.

“How did you not act weird?” Alyssa asked.

She said she had a feeling Joe was “the one” when they were first-year teachers together last year. Her mother also had that feeling.

“She said to my dad, ‘You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I think he’s the one,’” Alyssa said.

She said she and Joe, also a language-arts and social-studies teacher, even had classes together at Youngstown State University.

Alyssa knew her kids would want to celebrate the rest of the day.

“I can’t even make it back to the classroom,” she said. “I keep crying!”


1Shamrock29(20 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Get a life arod.

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2grand4dad(202 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Shamrock and EWand,
my feelings exactly!

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3MLC75(608 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

@Arod,wow,you truly are a hater,GET A LIFE .

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4paulydel(1374 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

I thought this was great. Some you would pour gasoline on a fire with some of the dumb comments. Merry Christmas.

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5RoddAC(98 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Arod and ailierdroit - Shame, shame, shame. When I saw this article (of people coming together for a positive thing) I thought to myself, "There is no way someone can voice a negative opinion." Naturally, I was wrong. Too bad. I celebrate teaching people coming together. ailierdroit: btw, never send a sentence with a preposition. Ending a sentence with "...living from." Shows not only bad grammar, but also ignorance. No wonder you dislike teachers...they must have flunked you. Hey, how's that for being critical?

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6republicanRick(1369 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

I think this taught the kids a lot of good life lessons. Good for this couple.

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7mhoz(1 comment)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Arod, it's apparent that everyone on this board has let you know how big of a sour guy you are, so I'll keep it short and sweet. Your comment was completely outrageous and out of context that I feel bad for myself for even rebuking your statement. Were you doing calculus and rocket science in middle school? The guy gets proposes during the holidays and it makes you turn into the Grinch. It's a shame that your outlook is that skewed. I'm sorry that you were expecting to read about a convenience store getting held up. Merry Christmas.

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8Bartony(1 comment)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

We owe our children wonderful moments and unforgettable memories. This was not a misuse of taxpayers’ funds or some cheap attention getting act. It was a young man who cared so much about his students that he chose to share this once-in-a-lifetime event with them. We should all be so lucky to have our children educated by someone like Mr. Carbon. Decades from now, when those kids become adults and can’t remember a whole heck of a lot about being in elementary school, I bet they still remember how they felt when one of their teachers proposed marriage, right in front of them! If you saw the video, like I have, of the kids screaming and cheering with excitement, you’d know what I was talking about. I thank you, Mr. Carbon, for giving those kids one of the most remarkable Christmas gifts they will ever get…a wonderful moment and an absolutely unforgettable memory.

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9CanfieldRichBoy(1 comment)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Arod and Ailie:

I don't know how much coal got thrown in your face this morning, but you both should really lighten up.

Everybody knows that the day before Christmas break might as well be an off-day for students. Middle school-aged children are 99% incapable of focusing when they are about to head home for break.

Second, and this might be shocking to you, but phones now have cameras attached to them. You don't have to call Stan Bony to get a proposal video-taped (most couples pay somebody to photograph and video tape proposals now, anyway). And you also don't need to page Don Guthrie to get a story in the Vindicator. They can get word of it via Facebook, Twitter, etc., contact those involved, then write a story.

Third, Joe looks like a young teacher. He probably makes about $35k per year. Including lesson planning, he conservatively spends 1800 hours working per year. And assuming this took him two hours to coordinate with students (probably an overestimate), that means this cost taxpayers $38 dollars. Since Girard has 9,813 citizens, that's $0.0038 per citizen. I'd say for the students involved, they will remember this for a long time, and it's well worth the .0076 cents their parents spent on Joe.

In short, you're both pretty miserable and uneducated. Get a life. Go Cards.

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10RangeRoversnHoesGoCards(1 comment)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Great comment, CanfieldRichBoy, further showing the superiority of the Canfield education system and this gentleman in particular. Your quick wit and fast fingers on the calculator have debunked these two Scrooge's on their quest to upset a beautiful, newly engaged couple.
I'm not quite sure how some of these people could see a headline like this in a rag (the Vindicator) filled page to page with such negativity and try and try to make an equally negative statement regarding it.
Joe and Alyssa congratulations on your engagement and Go Cards.

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11BigStar303(8 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

This is why I so rarely read the comments section on Vindy.com. No matter what the story, no matter how positive or uplifting it is, there's bound to be at least one sorry soul commenting on it who's afflicted with "The Youngstown Disease." That is, the pathological need to spout negative things...usually accompanied by an "*I* know what's really going on" attitude.

To arod (seems to me the last part of his handle ought to have four letters, and begin with an "h") and all the rest — I truly pity you and your miserable existence. It must be hard to wake up every morning and realize that you're still you.

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12isaac45(306 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

conservatives are anti-life

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