Some couples prove that young love can last


Photos contributed by Heather Wirkus

Rachel Treisman, Web Features Editor

High school views on relationships range from those held by starry-eyed romantics to those held by eye-rolling cynics. Yet there is one kind of love story that has universal appeal: the story of the high-school sweethearts.

Looking around the halls of Staples, it may be hard to picture any of the handholding, snapchatting couples getting married down the line. But it could very well happen – according to, about 10 percent of high school sweethearts get married.

Cupid’s arrow has landed at Staples, where high school romances-turned-marriages are not uncommon.

Science teacher Heather Wirkus met her now-husband in 2001 at Cheshire High School, where their lockers were side by side.

“He was always in my way, and I was always very academically inclined, so I actually did not like him in the beginning,” Wirkus said with a laugh. “But when you run into someone every day, between all periods, you just get to know them. One day he even stole my backpack because he thought I needed a break from studying, and I was dying inside.”

Wirkus added that as soon as their relationship began, they realized how much they helped each other and complemented each other.

“He would help me with math and I would help him with English,” Wirkus said. “I’m very type A and he’s more relaxed, but somewhere between us there’s the perfect person.”

Wirkus and her now-husband dated on and off while they attended separate colleges, and got married in the summer of 2010.

They now have an almost-one-year-old daughter who, according to Wirkus, acts like her and looks like her husband. She says her daughter is stubborn and talkative like she is, yet has her husband’s determination and eyes.

“When you’re with someone for so long, you see the change in the type of relationship: from high school relationship to long distance to now co-parenting and influencing this child and her future,” Wirkus said. “We get to share all of our firsts together. Our first mistakes, her first milestones … you never forget your first love, and it just so happens I had to bag mine up quick.”

Marjory Watt; mother of Kevin Watt ’15, has also been with her husband since high school.

The two grew up together in Long Island, where Doug played baseball for Marjory’s uncle’s Little League team.

“Our first date was New Year’s Eve of sophomore year in high school, and we’ve never, ever parted since,” Marjory said. “There was never anyone else.”

Like Wirkus, Marjory and her now-husband maintained a long distance relationship at their separate colleges before getting married.

Their son, Kevin, said he is glad that his parents have such a history.

“I’m lucky to have a mother and father who are so happy together,” Marjory said.

Marjory’s advice for young couples today is to give each other room to grow independently.

“Other people, when I was younger, glommed on and didn’t give each other any room,” Marjory said. “Don’t try to follow each other’s footsteps. It will happen if it’s meant to be.”

A couple who lived up to this advice is Nancy and Steven Tanzer, parents of Jamie Tanzer ’15.

According to Nancy, the two had known each other since Hebrew school but didn’t start dating until seeing each other at their 10-year high school reunion.

“My high school friends were very surprised when we started dating, and they were thrilled,” Nancy said. “I don’t think you change much from what your true self is in high school, and [Steven] has stayed true to being a great guy to this day.”

The bonds formed in high school, whether with best friends, boyfriends or girlfriends, evidently can extend far beyond grade school years.

“Together, Steven and I have about 20 friends we still keep in regular touch with who we have known since kindergarten,” Nancy said.

Even the people who rolled their eyes at “Romeo and Juliet” have to admit the high-school-sweetheart story is a great one.