School-day Surprise Proposal

Jillian Span Hofbauer
Chadwick Kulchar proposes to Kelly Infield in her classroom.

This story first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Columbus Weddings, published December 2018.

When Chadwick Kulchar decided he wanted to share his life with then-girlfriend Kelly Infield, popping the big question was never a matter of uncertainty—it was more about finding the perfect way.

The couple had met a few years prior through mutual friends at a Columbus Blue Jackets watch party and were surprised to discover that they had both graduated from the same high school only one year apart. A first date, and many others, followed, and before they knew it they had fallen in love, headed toward a future together.

“I wanted to show Kelly how much I love her and how excited I was to spend the rest of my life with her,” Chadwick says of making the proposal memorable. Knowing how much Kelly—now Kelly Kulchar—loves her job as a fourth-grade teacher at Hilliard Horizon Elementary School, he decided to include her students in the surprise, enlisting the help of principal Hilary Sloat to stage the event.

Through nearly four weeks of planning, which involved disguised texts and emails with Sloat and printing and laminating individual letters to spell “Will you marry me? Say yes!” for the children to hold, the proposal was set to take place in Kelly’s classroom following a student performance the entire school was attending in the gym. On the big day, Chadwick couldn’t wait to see Kelly’s reaction.

“Once the performance … ended, the principal pulled Kelly to the side for a quick, impromptu ‘meeting’ and had the assistant principal take her students to her classroom,” Chadwick explains. He was already there, ready and waiting; he and a couple of staff members worked with the kids to tidy the classroom, then line up the students in two rows with the letters.

“They were listening to me so well but seemed a little confused, since they had never met me before,” says Chadwick, adding that once the students realized why he was there, they were really excited to be a part of the moment. Shortly after, Kelly, Sloat and another co-worker made their way toward the classroom.

“When we reached my classroom door, I looked in the window and I couldn’t see anyone other than my assistant principal, and I also noticed how spotless the classroom was,” Kelly recalls. “I opened the door so pleased to hear a quiet, calm class and see a clean classroom,” she says, soon realizing the students were lined up facing her with letters. As she began to read the message, she spotted Chadwick. Walking toward her, he dropped to one knee and asked, “Kelly, will you marry me?” as the students squealed with excitement and shouted, “Say yes!” Completely shocked and overwhelmed with joy, Kelly nodded her head yes, replying “Thank you,” a sweet response that has now become a running joke in the family.

“I never would have imagined that Chad would propose to me at school,” Kelly says. “I love my students, and they are always a huge part of my life. It was a wonderful representation of love and happiness for these fourth-graders to experience.”

The proposal was a wonderful start to an amazing wedding journey that culminated seven months later, on July 13, say the Kulchars. “It was an incredibly special moment for everyone involved,” Kelly adds.