The Story of Us…

High school relationships, for many, often end in heartbreak, grudges, and gruesome revenge, but for the lucky few the end result can be worth it. Though some might look down on the concept of being in love while in high school, assuming the couple will be doomed to split as soon as college begins, this isn’t the cause for all couples. In fact, high school sweethearts across the country often defy the odds and end up married after graduation. Former Black Bears are no different, included the following four couples who started meeting at lockers and ended up joining together forever at the alter.

Alex Burgess and Brooke Boeken

Fourth of July in 2012 was most likely just another Fourth of July to most, but for Alex Burgess and Brooke Boeken it was the start of a beloved romance. The couple met Brooke’s freshman year and Alex’s sophomore year, with their love story starting in a high school Spanish class.

“Alex’s class of guys were big time jocks and extremely intimidating to a shy, mute freshman,” Boeken said. “Alex would get his friends to stare at me across the room. When I noticed I would try so hard to act very focused on my work. That did not work because I would start blushing and then the nervous smile would, unfortunately, follow. The flirting by Alex and smiling back from me began and never seemed to stop.”

After the constant flirting came the constant hanging out, making the two become even more fond of each other throughout their high school years.

“Our relationship in high school was all giggles, getting to know each other without friend groups on the weekends, and then finally Alex getting the nerve to ask my parents about taking me out on a ‘real’ date,” Boeken said. “When we grew close, it was so easy to babble on-and-on as we were so intrigued by whatever each one of us had to say. The butterflies have not stopped, but we have grown so entirely much since then.”

While getting to know each other, the two sweethearts fell in love with each other’s unique and loving personalities.

“I fell in love with Brooke when I stopped trying to make someone love who I was. I felt like I had to try so hard with anyone I talked to,” Burgess said. “From day one she loved me for me, and I could always be myself. It was effortless. She made it easy to want to spend time with someone like that.”

For the lovers the feelings for each other haven’t changed despite the number of years they have been together.

“The beginning of a relationship is exciting, but when you realize that you are in love with the person you held hands with, kissed in the hallways, giggled with, and always wanted to impress throughout high school, the real butterflies set in,” Boeken said. “Today we know each other’s quarks and are able to fall in love more and more each minute spent together.”

Alex and Brooke will continue their love story October 2018 when they exchange vows. “About half way through college we knew we would be together till the end, forever,” Boeken said. “Trust, loyalty, many laughs, and continually reminiscing on all of our memories lead to spending the rest of our days together.”

Zach and Jessica Boor

Sterling High School class of 2007 graduates Zach and Jessica Boor began their love story the first day of junior high and have been together ever since, totaling 16 years as a couple. For the Boors, their love for each other hasn’t changed.

“We met first day of seventh grade. I wasn’t really interested in anyone at first. We were all playing basketball at Peace Park and my girlfriends kept teasing me and telling me Zach was going to ask me out. Sure enough, he did, and I gave him a chance,” Jessica said. “After hanging out all the time and several hours on the wall phone until early mornings because no one would hang up first, I just always wanted to be with him. To this day that has not changed.”

If being high school sweethearts didn’t make this story even sweeter, the love at first sight factor might be a sweet addition.

“She had a great smile and personality,” Zach said. “She caught my eye, and I knew she had to be mine, even though she played a little hard to get.”

Zach and Jessica dated throughout high school, spending time together and even took sports pictures together.

“Our relationship was a little rare for our age, but somewhat dramatic and a lot of fun,” Jessica said. “Compared to now, we come with responsibilities, stress, and trying to find time for each other. In high school, ‘I love you’ was said a lot, and now we don’t say it enough.”

After high school the Boors love for each other never faltered, even seven years later, when Zach proposed to Jessica.

“When he asked me to marry him, at first I said, ‘no,’ but that was his fault because he chose to scare me on Halloween while asking me,” Jessica said. “Although, I wouldn’t have expected anything less. When he asked, I was really happy and thought it was about time.”

Not only did Zach and Jessica fall in love with each other, but many character traits made the romance even easier.

“He was adventurous. We always had fun,” she said. “He was athletic and a football player, and I was his cheerleader. It’s never a dull moment with him, and he is a handy, hard working man.”

The Boors reside in Sterling, and have two boys and a girl. The couple is anticipating a long life together.

“For many years it has been rather crazy and busy, so what I am looking forward to is balance, a slowdown, and to enjoy watching our babies grow up now that our family is complete,” Jessica said.

Michael and Aubree Hendricks

After meeting in junior high, Michael and Aubree Hendricks have been connected at heart ever since they became attracted to each others qualities.

“Aubree and I met in junior high, but did not get to know each other well until high school,” Michael said. “It was at eighth grade promotion that I noticed her beauty. From then on,  I knew I had to get to know her.”

From then on the two spent a lot of time together, and their sophomore year they made it official and started dating.

“From the very beginning of our relationship we were quite inseparable,” Aubree said. “During high school, we spent a lot of time getting to know each other.”

While getting to know each other, Michael and Aubree realized their love for each other was more than inseparable and the two thought about life beyond high school.

“I knew Aubree was the one a couple months into our relationship,” Michael. “As I got to know her, I was able to see how special she was and how she made me a better person. It was during this time that I knew I could not imagine my life without her.”

As their love for each other continued to change, so did their lives, as they both would journey off to college at separate schools.

“After we graduated, Michael and I went to separate schools that were only an hour away,” Aubree said. “We would text and talk on the phone during the week and see each other on weekends. The distance was not a strain on our relationship. It made the time we spent together more special and brought us closer together. Being apart also ensured our desire to get married.”

Michael and Aubree both agreed their love and desire was something to look forward to in their relationship. All that was needed was a proposal and a question from Michael.

“After a Valentine’s Day basketball game, my friends blindfolded me and took me to the park. Michael was there waiting for me and asked me to marry him. I immediately said, ‘Yes,’” Aubree said.

The couple got married soon after on May 26, 2016. This year the couple is looking upon a two year wedding anniversary but has been together for a total of seven years.

“Being with the same person so long has been a very special experience,” Aubree said. “We know everything about each other. The most amazing part has been going through major life events together. You cannot ask for much more than walking through life with your best friend.”

As for Michael and Aubree, they are looking forward to walking through life together and growing in their relationship.

“We are most looking forward to spending each and every day of the rest of our lives together and growing in love together,” Aubree said. “If God allows, we hope to someday start a family and become parents. We are also looking forward to our upcoming life changes with moving to a new town and Michael starting medical school.”

Matt DeWerff and Jill Oden

Young lovers, couples, sweethearts, or whatever you might call them are often look down on for “artificial love” starting in high school. Despite the haters, Matt DeWerff and Jill Oden look back fondly on their high school years. They have been together since 2012, first meeting in junior high, but their relationship never started until their later high school years.

“It started off by him asking me to go with him to help him with his senior project, and I needed to get stuff for mine,” Oden said. “Then we started going on dates after that. We had common interests, and we both liked sports, so we were able to strike up conversations pretty easy.”

After getting to know each other, DeWerff and Oden’s relationship was bound to end as they traveled off to college; however, their relationship was in it for the long run.

“Fortunately we chose to go to the same college and the same career path,” Oden said. “We have had our struggles and hardships, but we got through it by communication and hard work. We make sure to always talk about things and understand where the other person is coming from. It would not work well if we did not talk and listen to each other.”

College brings new paths and opportunities for all, including for relationships. For DeWerff and Oden that seemed to be the next step in their relationship.

“I always had pictured being married, but I never knew when or to whom. I was hoping it would be to Matt, but there were times I just had to be patient,” Oden said. “We had been together for several years and our lives were getting more complicated separate. We had to be adults, so it was time to get married and start our lives together.”

From knowing each other since junior high, to going to the same college and even choosing the same career, DeWerff popped the question for Oden’s hand in marriage.

“When Matt asked me to marry him, I did not know it was really coming,” Oden said. “He was being sneaky about it. I was so happy and thrilled. I actually had tears in my eyes I was so excited! At first, I told him the ring was upside down in the box, then I said yes. It was such an awesome moment.”

Before the engagement the couple had been together since 2012. As of March 2018 the couple can look forward to the rest of their lives together. Until then, the pair plans on working on their relationship.

“For us, love is a constant thing. It grows and strengthens but we have to put the time in,” Oden said. “If not, then it is like that toy you get on Christmas day that you are excited about for a couple days before it gets put on a shelf and is forgotten. We are constantly working at our love and making sure we are doing what is best for each other.”