A high school romance goes to the end

Although they attended the same high school in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Julia Marie Gerard and Adam Edward Romund never crossed paths until their senior year. They were placed in the same personal finance class and quickly became friends. The two began spending more time together outside of class, trying to prepare for their AP calculus exam.

“What studying in the library was supposed to be was not studying at all,” said Romund, 23. “It was basically a date. “We didn’t study anything and just talked about random things.”

Their mutual crush led Romund to ask Gerard to the prom in May 2018, where they shared their first kiss. The couple spent most of the following summer together, knowing that they would eventually go to colleges in different states: Ms. Gerard to Ohio State University and Mr. Romund to Michigan State University.

“He had become my best friend,” said Gerard, also 23 years old. “We really wanted to make it work. “We couldn’t imagine losing the other person.”

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Maintaining the relationship came with challenges: “95 percent of our relationship existed over FaceTime,” Romund said. But they managed to see each other once or twice a semester. Romund endured a nine-hour bus ride to visit Gerard in Ohio. Ms. Gerard traveled with a friend when she ventured to Michigan. During each meeting, the couple took a Polaroid selfie to commemorate the occasion.

The sustained separation that defined their relationship had a silver lining.

“The good thing that came out of long distance and FaceTiming all the time was that we communicated pretty well,” Romund said. Among the many topics of conversation was the topic of marriage.

“When we started talking about getting married, we were like, ‘Oh, I want to wait a while.’ I want to be older, like 27, 28,’” Ms. Gerard said. But the outlook for their future together changed over the years, particularly as graduation approached. “We know we want to do this. Let’s do this now,” Ms. Gerard said.

In 2021, Ms. Gerard graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and returned to Rochester Hills, where she works as a financial analyst at General Motors. Romund graduated in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, about 40 miles from Ms. Gerard, to pursue a doctor of dental surgery degree from the University of Michigan.

After they both earned their college degrees, it became clear, based on their numerous conversations, that an engagement was imminent.

“She’s my best friend,” Mr. Romund said. “I feel like I’m more ‘me’ with her. “She’s the first person I would tell when something crazy, strange or exciting happened.”

But Romund was determined to make the proposal a surprise.

“I took her out on some fancy dates and didn’t pop the question,” he said.

Then, one morning in October 2022, while Gerard was visiting him in Ann Arbor, Romund suggested they grab coffee and take a walk along the Huron River, which ran past their apartment.

When they reached a bridge, they crossed it and stopped to take their obligatory Polaroid photos. After the photo was taken, Mr. Romund got down on one knee and asked Ms. Gerard to marry him.

“We don’t like super-elaborate proposals for Jumbotron baseball games,” he said. “I thought it would be best to find a nice remote area with fall colors.”

As Mr. Romund expected, Ms. Gerald was surprised, although she now laughs at the clues she overlooked in retrospect.

“The walks were a normal thing for us,” he said. “But Adam getting up early was abnormal.”

The couple married Dec. 22 at St. Mary of the Hills Roman Catholic Church in Rochester Hills, which Ms. Gerard had attended as a child. The Rev. Stanley Ulman, pastor of the church, performed the ceremony.

The 175 guests who gathered for the reception at the Shepherd’s Hollow Golf Club station in Clarkston, Michigan, included some loved ones who were alumni of Michigan State, Ohio State and the University of Michigan. (They all got along very well, the couple said.)

Mr. Romund and Ms. Gerald are excited to embark on their careers and travel together. Above all, they are delighted to finally be able to share a home; They just bought a condo in Ann Arbor.

“No more long distances,” Romund said.

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