The year was 1977 when Jackie Perkins first laid eyes on Robbie Chang. While hanging around the courtyard of Ralston Middle School, on what was just another day, their eyes first met. Little did they know, they would be spending the rest of their lives together.
Their romantic relationship, which began their senior year at Carlmont in 1982, has survived distance while the couple attended college on opposite ends of California. The Changs still live in Belmont, and their third child is currently a sophomore at Carlmont.
Many high schools, including Carlmont, are filled with couples.
Sophomore Elise Haugerud said, “I don’t really see the point of dating in high school. It’s not like it’s going to last.”
However, that’s not always the case. There are couples like the Changs who date beyond high school and go on to live happily ever after.
At the end of senior year, many couples must answer the question, “Now what?” Some make the decision to part ways after high school, since the two often end up choosing different paths.
College, as well as the early 20s, is often thought of as a period of self-discovery and a time not to be tied down, which is the thinking that leads to the downfall of many relationships.
There is also the challenge of distance.
A couple that attends high school together generally sees each other at least five days a week. It is rare that both partners will continue on to the same college, without one person having to settle.
Gregory Guldner at the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, reported that 32.5 percent of long distance relationships are due to differing college paths between partners. Gulder also reported that the average length of a long distance relationship is 4.5 months.
Though the success rate of long distance relationships does not provide much hope, some still think it is worth a try.
Lauren Young, a senior at Carlmont, who has been dating her boyfriend for nearly two years, said, “We both have a first-choice college, and they are a five-and-a-half-hour drive from each other, but we talked about it and we think it [would be] kind of dumb if we both still love each other and still want to be together, yet decide to break up just because we think long distance will be too hard. We at least want to give it a shot.”
Math teacher Andy Ramroth has been with AP Government and Economics teacher Karen Ramroth since they were in high school together.
“Our story is that we went to middle school together. We got to be better friends in high school. She was worried that this guy was gonna ask her to Homecoming, and she didn’t want to go with him, so she desperately tried to find someone else. So she randomly found me,” said Andy Ramroth. “That was in November of 2000. Our first official date was March 9, 2001. We went to Red Robin and a Brad Pitt movie during our junior year. We got lucky and got into the same [college], and we knew we could stay together after that. We have a very long shared history and there are little nuances about each other that we know, that other couples don’t have.”
Carlmont alumna Vicki Garner Fleming has been with her husband for over 40 years, since she was a freshman.
Fleming said, “To me, at any age, whether you’re young or old, marriage and relationships are always hard. It just takes commitment, and I really do believe the reason we have stayed together through everything is that we are really in love.”
Fleming believes that her relationship is different from others because “If you grow up together when you’re that young, you either grow together or apart. Luckily for us, we grew together.”