Ryann and Laily

How We Met

They met working for Newark Junior High School, the school Ryann currently works at and Laily used to work for; Laily is now working at the high school in the same district. They became friends through mutual coworkers that we were friends with. After the first school year they worked together we hung out more to get to know each other, and then started dating.

Image 1 of Ryann and Laily

how they asked

This past year Ryann knew he wanted to propose soon, and knew how he wanted to propose. Ryann is the music teacher at NJHS teaching both band and choir. He knew he wanted to do it at one of his concerts, and as soon as his winter concert in January had passed he targeted one of his spring concerts as the time to do it. Ryann started arranging music for his band members to perform for the proposal that would be the backing music to what his choir students would sing. He took the song “My Life Would Suck Without You” by Kelly Clarkson and changed the instrumental for school band instruments to play (flutes, clarinets, trumpets, etc.) and changed the key for his students that have only played for 1-2 years, but also a key that would be ok for his singers to be able to sing. Looking for the perfect ring wasn’t too difficult. Ryann had given Laily as gifts before a heart shaped necklace and earrings for different occasions, so a heart shaped cut is what he was looking for on a platinum ring. He asked a couple of his friends, and both recommended ShaneCo. He went and the process was very detailed and a great experience for him. He even came in the next week to watch the diamond being mounted onto the ring. Ryann had a great experience at the store. With the ring ready, the proposal had to be perfect, and Ryann wanted as many students and former students to be a part of this special day. Since his bands and choirs have separate spring concerts he had to ask his choir students early on to save the band concert date because he needed as many choir students to help out. Of course Ryann, or Mr. Hernandez, didn’t mention why. He knew at his band concert he would have enough band members performing since the high school band traditionally plays with his current students every year to end concerts. He just needed a way to get more singers without telling them what it was for. So, this past year was Ryann’s 5th year at NJHS, so he made an announcement on his social media that his alumni could see that he was looking for alumni singers to sing in a special performance to celebrate his first 5 years at NJHS. Although not the intention, former students that at least wanted to be a part of that reached out and would learn the music. Once the music was done being arranged his band students started practicing with Ryann, while his former band students worked on it with their high school teacher or on their own. Then the choir students started rehearsing their lyrics while his alumni were sent their practice materials to get ready for the performance. Since this wasn’t his choir’s concert, he told them they were required to participate. And even though it was optional almost all of his students wanted to be a part of it. A couple of weeks before the concert Ryann had all of his classes, bands and choirs, get together to rehearse the song. It was a non-scheduled after school rehearsal, but almost all of his students were able and willing to come. After going through the song a couple of times together, and the feeling in the room was positive, Ryann decided to talk to his classes, as he usually does. But he knew that with the song they were doing some kids were wondering if this was for a proposal, and some just thought they were performing a song by Mr. Hernandez’s favorite singer Kelly Clarkson. So, he decided to say that whatever they’re assuming this performance to be, they’re probably right. And although the worry was saying that to junior high students and trying for them to keep it a secret, he wanted to let them know. He said not to spread it around, and he also said that he never used any of those words (like proposing).

Image 2 of Ryann and Laily

The day before the concert his choirs learned a little choreography, and later that afternoon everyone got together to rehearse. All of his bands and choirs, the high school band members, and his alumni singers that were participating came to practice for the first time together. The choirs and alumni singers learned their choreography and staging for the first time. With about 200 of his current and former students there, 7th to 12th graders, rehearsing it was time to officially tell them the knew with hope that it didn’t get back to Laily. Ryann told everyone in that room that he would indeed be proposing to his girlfriend, who they all knew as Ms. Laily, at the concert during the song. The news was received very well. Ryann asked for them to keep it a secret of course.

Image 3 of Ryann and Laily

Image 4 of Ryann and Laily

Now, the night of the concert there was still no indication that Laily knew what was happening. The concert went as all their concerts went. Everything seemed normal as any ordinary NJHS concert, and the end was going to be a special performance to celebrate Mr. Hernandez’s first 5 years at NJHS. Once set up was done and ready for the last song, Ryann talked about this special performance coming up, arranging a song by his favorite artist, and dedicated the song to his girlfriend. Ryann told all of his students to have fun with it and it would be great. The performance started, the audience that filled the chairs and bleachers were engaged, and Laily did not know what was going on. Not until Ryann started talking did Laily figure out what was happening. Ryann asked, Laily said yes, and the rest was a party.

Image 5 of Ryann and Laily

Laily loved it all, she loved her ring, but there was only one thing she was upset about. Laily was mad that she wasn’t better dressed for the event. =)

Image 6 of Ryann and Laily

Our Video

Special Thanks

NJHS Media
 | Photographer
Chris Carlos
 | Photographer