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Love is in the Air

The Steward School
Celebrating Spartan duos
This article originally appeared in the alumni section of The Colonnade Magazine. Enjoy the latest issue of The Colonnade.

At Steward, we talk a lot about love, but it’s usually the platonic kind. For quite a few Steward couples, however, their love has turned into engagement and marriage, and we want to celebrate those Spartan duos!

Robert Dietz ’81
and Denise Featherston Dietz ’81
Denise: Robert and I both started [in the third grade] at Steward the year it opened in 1972 at Derbyshire Baptist Church. Our first date was in December 1978. We had been friends of course through the years but didn’t really think about it beyond that. By April 1979 we were “going together!” I loved cheering for him and the Spartans on the soccer sidelines when we won the soccer championship in 1979 (I think)! We flirted a lot during second period study hall and spent a lot of time together working on the plays – he was usually working behind the scenes, and I was on the stage. Our mutual love for the school brought us closer together throughout high school. We hated leaving Steward behind to go to college, but our relationship endured and we got married in 1986. We often laughed and said our first child, Danny, was the first Steward alumni baby! 

Graham Hickerson ’89 and Barbara Hickerson (former development associate)
Barbara: I began working at The Steward School in 2006 in the Development Office and had the opportunity to develop the alumni program a few years later. I spoke with [former headmaster] Paul Cramer, and he suggested a few names from each class to invite to an Alumni Board meeting; one of those names was Graham Hickerson.

Graham: I remember being at work and my phone ringing. I answered, and there was a sweet voice on the other end saying something about Steward – I was thinking, here we go, she is going to ask for money. Well, she didn't, and for some reason I agreed to check out the Alumni Board meeting.

Barbara: Graham began attending Steward events as part of the Alumni Board. Somehow, we ended up dancing at an event on Waddell Terrace and had a blast; the week after SummerFest, he asked me out on a date. Seven months later we were engaged in Italy and married six months later. We now have two handsome boys and live less than two minutes from Steward.

Frazer Orgain ’95 and Corbin Adamson Orgain ’96
Frazer: This is a story where the girl is smart and has the vision, and the boy is dumb and blind. We first met in fourth and fifth grade (1985), when Corbin’s main objective of the year was to be placed on my kickball team … to no avail, and thus began the pursuit and consequent blindness for eight years until our first official date at Jr./Sr. (now known as prom) in 1994. The rest is history, and we have been married for 20 years. We have a “varsity team” at Steward (two students in Upper School) and a “JV team” (two Lower Schoolers). Corbin is the most amazing sixth-grade math teacher at Steward, and Frazer is still dumb!

Adam Graves ’98 and Catherine Woody Graves ’98
Catherine: We met in the seventh grade in Mrs. Shaw’s English class. His first impression was that I was extremely quiet, and he actually wondered if I could even talk. My first impression was that he was the cutest guy in the grade, and I loved his socks that day. They had loons on them. We were friends first and became a couple in tenth grade (1996). We dated for 12 years before getting married in 2008. Now here we are 25 years later with a daughter who is in kindergarten at Steward and a six-month-old son! 

Shelly Giglio Felvey ‘99 and Stewart Felvey ‘00
Shelly: We met in advisory, I think it was called, when Stewart was in ninth grade and I was in tenth grade. We started dating at the end of his tenth-grade year and my eleventh-grade year. Our first date was me driving him to get a cast taken off his arm – he had broken his wrist playing basketball – and then we went to the movies. We have been together ever since. 

Harry Baron ’01 and Caitlin Rossmoore Baron ’01
Harry: Caitlin and I met in fifth grade. We were great friends for many years, and as fate would have it, we ended up together after college. Both Caitlin and I are so incredibly grateful for The Steward School, the teachers, and our fellow alumni, some of whom are still our close friends today. Obviously, without Steward, we wouldn't be together and certainly wouldn't have the most important things in our life, our children and each other.

Clay Carter ‘05 and Annie Wise Carter ‘05
Annie: We actually met in preschool. Our parents happened to be good friends, so we carpooled and had a couple joint birthday parties since our birthdays were only six days apart. I went to Steward starting in kindergarten, while Clay attended Collegiate until ninth grade, then he came to Steward in the tenth grade. We became close friends in high school but never dated. We ended up at different colleges and dated other people; but we still remained close friends, especially since we were less than three hours from each other (Athens, GA and Columbia, SC). We both moved back to Richmond between 2008 and 2009, but it wasn’t until 2013 that we were both newly single and realized we’d been right in front of each other all this time! We dated for six years before getting married in October 2019!

Meg White Montgomery ‘05 (former Steward staff) and Chad Montgomery (director of plant operations)
Meg: It all started when my door broke one day a few months after Chad had started working at Steward [in the Maintenance Department], and he came to fix it. After that, I had Mrs. Healey do some investigative work, mainly to find out if he had a girlfriend. Fast forward a long time (months and months), and we finally met up at the Continental with some friends. I messaged him to see if he wanted to meet us there, which he did, and then we went out to dinner a week or so later. I left Steward for another opportunity … and because I didn’t want to work with my beau. After about a year of dating, he proposed in the Cramer Center with all of our family and friends hiding in the balcony. We got married in July 2014 and are now the parents of a Steward kindergartner and a three-year-old. 

Doug Smith ’06 and Nicole Hill Smith ’06
Nicole: Over Christmas break [during] senior year in 2005, Doug romantically asked me to dinner and a movie over AIM (instant messaging). Being the charmer he is, Doug recommended the Burger King in front of the Short Pump Regal theaters – Dutch style – and used movie vouchers he had received from being Employee of the Month at PetSmart. Needless to say, the first date was memorable, and we haven’t stopped laughing since; we’ll be celebrating 10 years of marriage in October 2022.

Adam Dawes ’07 and Ayers Gilman Dawes ’06
Ayers: Adam and I stayed friends after high school and started dating in 2016, and we got married in 2018. Adam is currently working as a network engineer at Markel Corporation, and I am pursuing my master of education in a teaching licensure program leading into a graduate program at Regent University. 

Beth Farmer-Smith ’09 and Casey Smith (assistant soccer coach)

Beth: Casey and I met in fall 2013 on the athletic fields. He was coaching boys varsity soccer, and I was coaching Middle School field hockey. We got married in September 2018 and even had our rehearsal dinner in the Bryan Lab! We both still coach at Steward and love seeing each other out on the fields! 

Michael Sims ’13 and Claire Kirchmier Sims ’14
Claire: Michael and I met when we were in high school, me a freshman and Michael a sophomore. It’s not every day that your older sister (Mackenzie Kirchmier ’12) is able to see that you two are meant for each other and works her hardest to make it happen. Through Michael’s summer baseball tournaments, VMI, and living long distance during flight school for the Navy, we stuck together through it all and finally got married on August 13, 2021!

Matthew Gelber ’15 and Mary Madison Andrews ’16 (engaged)
Mary Madison: There's no definitive start to our story since we have known each other since Middle School. We became friends through band and robotics over the years. During my junior year and Matthew's senior year, we started to hang out during free periods, and Matthew would help me with my math homework. After Matthew started at VCU, he continued providing math tutoring, as (Mr. Serr can corroborate) I was horrible at precalculus! We bonded over my hatred – and Matthew's love of – math and eventually started dating in autumn 2015. I passed precalculus with an A, and I got a husband out of it...I'd call that a win-win!

Sean Highfill ’15 and Liza Thompson ’17 (engaged)
Liza: In a risky opening gambit on Valentine’s Day 2015, Sean presented me with heart-shaped candies and an oversized teddy bear. The rest is history. Together ever since, we will tie the knot on August 27, 2022 in front of family and friends, including many Steward alumni.

John Keefe ’15 and Ally Dods ’16 (engaged)
Ally: John and I met in 2012 in math class at Steward when I was a freshman and he was a sophomore. We started dating the next year and have been together ever since, a little over eight years now. We stayed together through college while I went to JMU and he went to VMI, got engaged in December 2020, and are getting married in October 2022. Thanks to Steward for bringing us together!

Davis Mohar ’17 and Morgan Van Davelaar ’17 (engaged)
Davis: Morgan and I met when I came to Steward in seventh grade, and [we] had at least one class together every year. We started dating near the end of senior year and both went to Virginia Tech for college. Our relationship has grown over the years, and we often reminisce about our shared Steward experiences. We are now engaged, back in Richmond, and spending our days chasing after our dog, Poppy!

Read the latest issue of The Colonnade.

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