SNOHOMISH — The fire drill was real. So was the proposal.
As Dutch Hill Elementary School teacher Kirby Miller brought her class to the playground Friday during the drill, her whole family came streaming out of the school office.
Her boyfriend, Derek Shelton, led the way and walked up to Miller. He hugged her and then kneeled down, took out a ring and asked for her hand in marriage.
“I was in shock, I can’t remember what he said,” Miller, 26, said afterward. “I am amazed how he pulled this off.”
When she said yes, hundreds of kids and teachers screamed and applauded.
The proposal took two months of planning for Shelton, 27.
It wasn’t easy to keep things hidden, especially since the couple live together in Monroe and share computer and cellphones.
Shelton had to delete all messages and phone calls made to the school and to their families and friends. Miller could have noticed he was calling her workplace.
And on Thursday, when he was actually getting the ring in Seattle, he told Miller he was helping a friend move.
“Everyone knew but her,” Shelton said.
The couple has been together for two years and the subject of marriage had come up before. Shelton wanted to surprise her and propose at the school where she’s taught fifth grade for the past year.
Budget cuts, though, are causing her to be laid off. So Shelton wanted her to have good memories involving her students and co-workers at the school.
Miller’s mom, Kelly Carman, was happy with her future son-in-law’s efforts.
“Kirby will remember this forever,” she said.
His original plan was to propose to Miller in front of her class. When he went to ask permission from principal Donna Kapustka a couple of weeks ago, she suggested having a fire drill so all the school could witness the proposal. The school has to conduct one fire drill a month.
“The more people involved, the better the memory,” Shelton said.
Afterward, only Miller’s class remained outside with the kids, family and friends congratulating the couple.
Even the boys were impressed.
“I will do what he did,” said Alessandro Squadrito, 11.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; email@example.com.