Thousands of students have crossed paths in the hallways of Madison’s public schools. Help us celebrate those who met in our schools and are alumni sweethearts!

Do you have a love story that started in Madison's public schools that you’d like to share?

Melissa Hughes (Stainbrook) and Jake Hughes (La Follette '99)

We were introduced by mutual friends who were colleagues of Jake's. Our journey began on February 2nd, 1997, just in time for us to attend Twerp together. Five years later, on November 2nd, 2002, we exchanged vows and embarked on building our first and only home the following year. With three boys, our life is rich and fulfilling.

Friendship has been the cornerstone of our relationship, providing the stability and support we needed through various challenges. From financial struggles to navigating pandemic-induced remote learning for our children, we've faced it all together. Balancing opposite work shifts to prioritize our family hasn't been easy, but it's strengthened our bond.

Now, after 27 years together and celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary in November, we remain deeply committed to each other and our children, making them our utmost priority.

Beth Johnson Verdin and Al Verdin (Memorial)

In 1976, we both taught at Memorial High School, though we weren't particularly close at the time. The teachers were on strike, and we walked past each other multiple times. The bitter cold of the picket line brought us together as we would pause to warm up at a nearby teacher's house. It was there that we struck up conversations and grew more acquainted.

Fast forward a few months, and the major ice storm of March came. Of course that was the night we had our first date, not knowing how bad the weather was going to get. From there, the rest is history and we have been married for 46 1/2 years. We left Madison in 2004 and have since lived in Henderson, Nevada.


Harriett Ann McDonough & Raymond F Gesteland (West '56)

Ray moved into our neighborhood from the Nakoma School area. In 9th Grade (1952), we had our first date with his brother Ed chaperoning to a Stan Kenton concert at the U of Wisconsin Field House. We dated through high school and college at U of WI and married in April of 1960 in Madison WI. We have lived in Cambridge, Geneva Switzerland, Cold Spring Harbor NY, and finally in Salt Lake City. We had several friends who met in High School, married, and managed to stay married as of now. Ray and I have been married 64 years in April, have 4 wonderful children and 9 super grandchildren. Ray has been a successful scientist, college administrator, and mentor to numerous students. I worked as a Nurse Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and taught young children as well as Graduate students at U of Utah College of Nursing. Our time at West High provided numerous opportunities to participate in activities to encourage our academic futures. It was a great preparatory education for college. We both participated in extracurricular activities which enriched our experience enormously.