Huron Alumn Engaged in the Classroom They Met


Allison Mi and Satvika Ramanathan

For Heather Vollano and Ron DeVee, it started in room 6157, Senior Advanced Math during 6th hour. Though they were in the same grade, the class of 2008, this was the first time they would interact. Or rather after Vollano noticed DeVee — the boy sitting behind her excelling in the class, she would start asking for help. The transaction was simple: DeVee would help Vollano with her long division and quadratic equation questions by creating catchy songs. It went like “X equals opposite of B…” to the tune of Hail to the Victors. And Vollano would in return draw him pictures — intricate sketches of fries and burgers with a personalized logo of “Ronald McDonald” — the nickname Vollano endearingly appointed him. However, instead of crumbling the sketch or stowing it away into a never-seen-again corner, DeVee made it his math binder cover for the rest of the school year.


For Vollano, sketches to DeVee were really her way of flirting.


“I was so naive,” admitted DeVee who did not catch on until some friends put two and two together for him.


Shortly, DeVee mustered the courage to ask her on a date.


“No,” Vollano said, thinking he could do better than her or worrying she would break his heart.

“You’ll hear from people that if they’re told ‘no’ the first time, they walk away,” DeVee reflected. 

But that was not the case for him. In fact, he went on to ask her out three more times, all met with a resounding: “No.”

And in the middle landing in the stairwell by the band room, DeVee asked for the fifth time on Jan. 22, 2008.

“I can’t keep doing this,” he said. “It’s hurting me. This is the last time I’m asking you and after this I’m moving on.”

Vollano realized “he’s too good” and she couldn’t let him go. 

So after the fifth time DeVee asked the same question, Vollano said for the first time “Yes.”


“Persistence is everything,” DeVee affirmed with a confident smile.


“If that class did not happen, me and her would not be anything,” DeVee said. “I am a hundred percent sure of that.”

The truth was, Senior Advanced Math was their only overlap. During lunch, DeVee would go to the library to finish his physics homework, while Vollano would drive to Wendy’s to get fries and a frosty and single cheeseburger, getting back to school just on time for fifth hour.

“We are two people you would never expect to be in a relationship,” DeVee said. “We were just polar opposites. No reason for us to be together.”

Yet 15 years later, “here we are.” After high school, they both attended Washtenaw Community College. Today, Vollano is an art teacher at Woodland Meadows Elementary School in Saline and DeVee is a medical courier

DeVee lets out a smile.

“I was just the outsider who snuck in and won her heart.”


DeVee had just known that he was going to get down on one knee at some point. 

“It was not a matter of why or how, it was a matter of when.”


He started planning the big moment out about four or five years ago and began to think about where they first met. 

“It was crazy, but I literally envisioned that classroom,” DeVee said. “I envisioned all of our families being in that classroom.”

But the big plan had to get put on the back burner when the pandemic hit. DeVee knew that he couldn’t compromise on the location. 

“I knew in my heart and it had to be in the classroom,” he said. “So I didn’t really have a backup.”


Getting the proposal set up was a big process involving many voicemails sent to Huron.

Time was ticking to the date he had planned. 

“We were coming down to five weeks left,” DeVee said. “We’re at the end of July and I’m like, ‘I gotta get this done by August.’”

He was able to contact the school and get the okay, and then it was time to execute. 


DeVee got his sister to take Vollano out to get her nails done right before the big moment. His sister told Vollano that she needed help with a project involving getting photos taken of Huron after their outing.


“Usually I’m pretty good at picking up on things like surprises,” Vollano said. “But she was good. She got me.”


Vollano knew that the big moment was coming, though. They had been together for fourteen and a half years.

“You are very kind of transparent with each other at a certain point in your life,” Vollano said. “And we were just very much on the same page about timing and when it should happen.”


They were both ecstatic.


“It all came together very organically and it worked beautifully,” DeVee said. “She just had no clue.”

DeVee thought back to how he was feeling at the moment.

“I was so nervous. I had this pit in my stomach. It hits you how big of a life moment it is. To have it be what I envisioned in that classroom, it was very surreal. I bawled my eyes out.”


DeVee said that Vollano means “everything” to him. 

“Everyone has a different journey in life. I know mine. I don’t even know who I would be without her. I don’t like to think of where I would be without her. She’s my angel.”