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PLEASANT GROVE – Cassie Farley was beginning her week teaching teens about awareness and prevention of suicide when she was interrupted by an announcement on the loudspeaker.
"Cassy Farley, we have someone down in the front office. A gentleman who would like to propose to you," the announcement said.
With an ear-to-ear grin and a trail of students chanting her name, Farley made her way to the office where sure enough, there was her fiance-to-be, Paul Limburg, down on one knee asking for her hand in marriage.
With that same smile that carried her down the hall, Farley responded with a resounding "yes" to the man she said she's been waiting for. Farley said that while she was expecting a proposal, she was not expecting it that day, let alone at her school and in front of her students.
"I was shocked when he did this," Farley said. "It is not his personality, but it is so mine. I knew he was going to propose, but I never thought in a million years he would do something like this! And he had it all lined up with my daughter to get all our family there, and had lined it up with one of my students in Hope Squad to record it while I was teaching. So when it came on the intercom, I was like, 'what?' It was so fun."
Limburg confirmed that proposing in such a public fashion was not his style, but said that this wasn't about him, but her.
"I'm not one to do something like this; I'd rather hide somewhere than be in the spotlight," Limburg said. "I was putting the focus on her. I knew it would be a bit of a disruption, so I called the principal and tried to get approval and everything. She's a local celebrity down in Pleasant Grove, especially in her high school. I knew that by announcing it over the intercom close to lunchtime, everyone would be filing out of the classroom. I knew everyone would come to see it because everyone knows her and loves her."
Farley, who teaches the high school Hope Squad class, did bring droves of high school students with her, and according to Limburg, it was all part of the plan.
"I had a student in her classroom ready to film her reaction when it was announced on the intercom," he said. "I liked the idea of announcing it in advance instead of just dropping to a knee and announcing it because it gave her some time to think about it. She had a good two- to three-minute walk from her classroom down to the office. I thought it would be clever and fun, and I think it definitely was."
First came love
As much as this is a story of a proposal, there is also a love story behind it, and both Farley and Limburg said they felt like they were brought together at a time when they needed it most.
For the past eight years, Farley has been a single mom to her four children and said she has been "waiting patiently" for the right guy to come along. All that patience paid off when, a year ago, she logged into a dating app she hadn't been on for over three years. There, she matched with a man – a widower and father of four – taking a chance moving forward after a loss.
"Paul's wife passed away from cancer, and I was the first person he dated, and I've been a single mom for eight years," Farley said. "When we met, we knew that we were just supposed to be together. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am so picky about who I date, and I am so patient. When I met him, I knew it was so special. I could not believe I had found this most amazing man. He's so awesome and cute and everything good in the world, and I'm just so excited!"
He's so awesome and cute and everything good in the world, and I'm just so excited!
Limburg echoed Farley's story and sentiments, adding that this is one of those "and" moments.
"My wife passed away in the fall of 2020 of cancer," he recalled. "One Friday night, I felt like I should put myself out there, and I think it was the next day we matched, and it just went from there. I really felt like it was just so inspired and that we were meant to be together."
Limburg said that he understands that this is a raw moment for his children, who he said have all been very supportive.
"My kids have been supportive while still dealing with some of those raw feelings that they have with losing their mom, and seeing their dad move forward," Limburg said. "I have to keep reminding them that I'm not moving on, or moving past their mom; I'm just moving forward."
The proposal came full circle for Farley, she said, because she is always teaching her students about hope — that things will eventually work out. She said that she hoped that having her students witness her moment of happiness, they were able to see that patience can pay off.
"I've had these students for three years, so we've gotten to know each other. I also teach health, so we talk about personal stuff and relationships, so they're always asking about my boyfriend. The kids were all cheering. Some were on the balcony. We all have those super dark moments, and we can hit really low lows, and if you stay patient, hope can prevail."