Tyler McNichols proposed to his bride-to-be, Colleen Coffey in the classroom where they met at Kennedy Elementary School. (Submitted photo)

BY LYNDON A. ZAITZ
Of the Keizertimes

Room 11 at Kennedy Elementary School took on a new purpose on Wednesday, Oct. 12.  Instead of reading, ‘ritin’, and ‘rithmatic, Colleen Amanda Coffey learned that her boyfriend Tyler McNichols wanted to marry her.

Tyler, with of the help of some of the school’s staff and his friend, managed to get Colleen to the school on Wednesday afternoon to propose to her.  Room 11 was were the two met in Mrs. Margie Guiterrez’s class.  Over the next four years they shared homeroom class as well as math and reading class.

Despite being friends in school Tyler did not have any special interest in Colleen.  “The very first day she met me in second grade,” Tyler said, “the first thought she had was ‘that is the the guy I am going to marry…or at least someone who looks just like him.’” Colleen’s crush on him continued until they went to different middle schools; she headed to Waldo Middle School and South Salem High School, closer to her home.  She had attended Kennedy because her mother worked there.

They met again at a concert during their freshman high school year.  They didn’t talk again. She sent Tyler an email in August, 2008, just before their sophomore year began.  Her email kindled a spark between them and they reunited that summer at the state fair.

For the marriage proposal Tyler worked out his plan with current Kennedy principal Terry Gallagher.  He had Colleen’s best friend kidnap her and bring her to Room 11 at Kennedy Elementary.  Tyler walked in, got on one knee and proposed while his friend Steven Douglas captured the moment with his camera.

“She was very surprised and excited,” Tyler said about the proposal, she was “on the verge of tears.”

The couple are planning a June wedding.  They are both in college, he is studying electrical engineering while she studies dental assisting.

Tyler lives in Keizer with his parents, Rob and Nikki McNichols.  Colleen lives in Salem with her parents, David and Patty Coffey.