WO staff dating stories

WO staff dating stories

Kaitlyn Meyer

The teachers and staff of West Ottawa have much more to share than just lectures about literature, how to solve math equations, and why historical events affected our present. Shocker alert, WO Staff members used to be wild teenagers too. Here are some dating advice and funny stories that teachers and staff have to share!


Instructor Brian Taylor

“I was a sophomore in high school, just got my license, and asked a girl we’ll call “Krista” out for a date. I didn’t have any money, so figured we would just drive around and that would be good. The evening grew dark,  as the country roads started to narrow. I missed a big turn (was probably speeding too) and went straight off the road and into about 30 feet of blackberry bushes. I couldn’t see very well at night but refused to wear glasses as I was needlessly and stupidly vain and thought I was “too cool” for them. The car was trapped; the doors were sealed shut by the tightly entwined nest of bushes, and it started to rain. This was 1988, so we had no cell phones. We had to extricate ourselves by climbing out the windows into the wild, scratching ourselves and ruining our clothes as we tried to find our way out to the road. We walked over a mile to the nearest country house and nervously knocked on the door to ask to use a phone. Krista’s very upset father came to pick her up and left me behind. Apparently, she had told her parents she was at a friend’s house, as they told her she was too young to date. We didn’t have a second date.”


Instructor Kayla Keck

“I met my husband in 8th grade. We had a technology class and gym together. We became good friends then started dating during my Freshman year of high school. We have been together ever since.”

Advice: “If you are planning on dating, focus on dating others that you have shared interests and values. Relationships are so much more fulfilling if you have a strong friendship and enjoy spending time with each other.”


Counselor Lacy Otteman

“Well, when I met my husband we were at a party of mutual friends.  He offered to drive me home and he walked me up to my apartment.  At the door, he asked, “Can I call  you sometime?” My response, “Sure, you can call me.  Lots of people call me.” I cannot believe the dude even tried calling me after that stunt, but he did and we have been married for over 13 years. Another funny thing that happened to me is that I won a date with a cast member from Road Rules: South Pacific.  Road Rules was one of the very first reality TV shows and it was on MTV.  Somehow I won. We were picked up by a limo, went out to dinner, and played darts.  IT WAS HILARIOUS. I can’t remember this guy’s name so I had to have someone send it to me.”


Instructor Kala Cohen

“I dated a girl for 2 years in high school and into college.  We went to different schools, but I saw her at a football game and felt compelled to approach her to start a conversation, and the rest was history. As is common in high school “serious” relationships, we attached too much meaning to our relationship and believed it to be something that would stand the test of time. We went to the same college. I would be lying if I said that decision was completely individual.  I met my wife on move-in day freshman year (she was next door to my then-girlfriend), and we all became quick friends.  As we began to explore our different interests and meet new people, we began to grow apart emotionally, and the relationship did not last beyond our first semester of college.  After a lengthy period of both dating and not dating, my wife and I decided to give it a try, which ended up working out pretty darn well for both of us!”

Advice: “I feel like high school students in relationships see it as too important.  At this point in your lives, you are constantly growing and changing as you have new experiences, and it is extremely rare that high school relationships last. Don’t get me wrong, they are a part of growing up and developing your own identity, but they should probably be more casual than I have seen. I am happy to have the dating experiences I had, it was fun and I learned a lot about myself. I never would have had any of those experiences if I was too scared to approach a girl I was interested in, so I also hope teenagers are open to putting themselves out there. There is a happy medium that I hope many can find.”


Instructor Heather Heemstra

“I had a guy fly in from California to go on a date with me. He was a client of either my sister or a friend of hers at her work. We had talked on the phone and he decided that he wanted to come to meet me. It was the longest weekend of my life.  I asked a friend and his girlfriend to join us one evening. While we were playing pool, he came up and licked my face… ew!  Then he started pouting. Apparently, he was expecting a full package deal!  He was greatly disappointed.  He even used some not nice words towards me.  I was a bit shocked.  Good thing my sister was living with me at the time.  She set him straight! I couldn’t get him back on the plane to CA fast enough!”


Instructor Cody Ryan

“My wife and I met while working together during college. During the Christmas holiday, our work had a potluck, so many employees brought in food. I was on break and craving dessert, so I saw there was one last piece of Oreo Pie left. I took it and began eating it. My now-wife walked into the break room and was devastated that I took the last piece of Oreo Pie! She grabbed a spoon, walked up to me, and scooped a big piece off my plate, and walked away while she ate it. I couldn’t believe what just happened but began to laugh about it. We started talking later that day and eventually started dating. The rest is history. We still talk and laugh about it to this day.”


“The biggest piece of advice I can give is to always laugh and always have a sense of humor. It’s a must-have in any relationship.”


Instructor Dan Dennis

“A crazy dating experience I had with my wife was the time I went to her home to take her out to dinner and discovered that her dad had buried a rental bulldozer down by their pond. I proceeded to spend the evening ignoring my girlfriend as I grabbed a shovel and worked for hours helping him get the bulldozer unstuck. We never did go out for dinner that evening and I don’t remember doing anything more than saying goodbye and heading home to shower and go to be as I was pretty exhausted after digging for hours. It should have foreshadowed the digging out of an old oil tank in the backyard and helping to repair two above ground pool incidents that would occur in the future. Maybe it was his way of preventing me from spending more time with his daughter? Maybe it was his way of testing my ability to overcome hardships?   Maybe he just had a lot of unfortunate luck with household projects or was trying to get back at me for the size of their long-distance phone bill? I don’t know, but thankfully my future father-in-law didn’t object when I asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage a few years later.”

Advice: “Find that partner who can handle you breaking a date to do something important that just came up, who doesn’t need you to be glued to their side every waking moment and won’t be threatened by you not being at their beck and call. Find someone who appreciates you for who you are and who makes you a better person because you spend time with them. If it is headed somewhere long term, find someone who is capable of loving who you will become, and will appreciate you working on yourself in the relationship. Better yet, find someone who requires you to work on yourself so you can love yourself first; that way you will be able to love them the way they deserve to be loved.” 


Principal Jason Reinecke

“My first date with the woman that is now my wife we went to TGIF.  We ordered our salads the exact same way and I knew it was ‘minus tomato and onion with ranch’ true love. We’ve never looked back since.”


Assistant Principal Audra Bolhuis

“My husband, Mr. Bolhuis, and I started dating each other 14 years ago.  We were first just friends as we met when our mutual friends began dating each other.  We were actually both dating other people at the time which gave us the chance to get to know each other just as friends.  Eventually, we were both single and he asked me out on a date!  Mr. Bolhuis and I planned to go see a movie after we both got out of work.  At the time, he worked for a construction company framing houses, which is hard work!  We got to the movie, sat down, and I was so nervous.  After about 30 minutes in, his head fell on my shoulder.  Which I thought was a bit odd, but I just sat still.  After he didn’t move, I looked over and he had fallen asleep!  I watched the whole movie while he took a nap.  And 14 years later, we’re married, and now I’m the one who always falls asleep when we watch movies.”


Instructor Kevin Klassen

“Now that I have my electric scooter, I think the perfect date would be a nice scooter ride to get ice cream.”

Advice: I would also say that as you’re dating, make sure you still keep your friend relationships too and that you don’t just drop all your friends for your significant other.” 


 Instructor Tim DeForest

“I was in college at a Halloween dance in my sophomore year. My buddies and I dressed up as ‘pumpkin guts’. We painted our arms and faces orange, wrapped ourselves totally up in tons of orange yarn, and had pumpkin seeds made out of paper bags attached to us.  (we won the group prize contest!). Anyways, we were dancing and 2 girls dressed as black squirrels ran across the dance floor and I accidentally got tangled up with one of them in my ‘pumpkin guts”.    We simply said hi…smiled about the awkwardness of the situation… got untangled and that was that. Two days later I ran into that squirrel again on campus and we laughed about it. Hit it off immediately, and BOOM a spark was lit! Three years later I married that black squirrel!  We have been together ever since.”

Advice: “Truthfully most dates are not that great. Not until you find one or two special ones and those are the ones that are good.”


Instructor Jeremy Heavilin

“It was the first time I met my wife’s father. She mentioned that her dad was a big guy and played college football, but when he stood up to greet me at a restaurant it was then that I realized how big 6’7′ 325 really is. Thankfully he approved of our relationship and he was a great father-in-law and friend.”

Advice: “If you want to impress your date 1 word.  “Coupons”  nothing proves you are financially savvy more than saving money!” 


Instructor Ryan Burke

“One of the first types of dates my future wife (Christine) and I would go on would go on runs together. One problem I saw with this immediately was that she was fast, she was running marathons at the time. I was not. So I had to look like I wasn’t dying during the run while I was, in fact, dying. During one of our runs, a bee flew into Christine’s mouth and stung her tongue. Christine is allergic to bees (not anaphylactic shock bad, but would swell up). We tried to finish the run but her tongue continued to swell and we ended up in the Emergency Room. Thinking of her trying to talk with a super-swollen tongue still makes me laugh to this day.”


Instructor Brad Holehan

“It was a humid evening in Santiago, Dominican Republic, the bugs were buzzing, the stars were out, the sound of Bachata music was playing not so faintly in the background from the nearby corner store, and I was enjoying a week with my girlfriend (now wife) for the first time in a few months. I had been thinking about saying those 3 words, you know those 3 words that can change everything: “I love you”.  I have been thinking about it, waiting for the right moment, getting a little bit nervous, secretly hoping she will say it first. Then, IT HAPPENS! Or at least I thought it did… we were enjoying our lovely evening conversation and she said, “I love that about you…” As soon as the L word came out of her I shouted back “I LOVE YOU TOO!” look on her face part, shock, part confusion, and pure excitement. I feel like the quirks for this story are pretty representative of our story, it has been 9 years since then with  7.5 years of marriage and 2 kids. It’s safe to say my weirdness hasn’t scared her off yet.”


Instructor Andrea Andreadis 

“I brought Mrs. Cheney and Mrs.Stoel along with me on my first date with my husband (but he didn’t know they were there). I met him on eHarmony which is an online dating service. Since it was my first time meeting him in person, I wanted to make sure I had some back-up with me and was safe. I arranged for our first date to take place at Salt and Pepper since one of my students was a hostess there. She seated me in a booth that was in Mrs. Cheney and Mrs. Stoel’s direct line of vision. I arranged to meet them in the bathroom at 7:30 to let them know if things were going okay. And the rest is history.”

Advice: “My advice is to make sure you feel safe and comfortable with the person you are with.”


Instructor Loretta Vaara

“My husband, Marcus, and I started dating while in college. One beautiful fall weekend we took a break from studying and went on a “real” date. We went out to lunch – which was a big deal because we were both broke – and then to a park. We were walking in the park holding hands, enjoying the sunshine, and the fall colors. I’m sure you can imagine this romantic scene! When I suddenly felt something wet hit the top of my head. Well, it wasn’t raining, so of course, it was bird poop.  So much for a romantic afternoon.  When we got back to my apartment, my roommates enjoyed hearing Marcus tell the hilarious story of how I got pooped on.”


Instructor Bob Myers

He made a video explaining his story, check it out!