The Office of Public Information celebrates Valentine’s Day by sharing unique stories about couples who met and fell in love at Pittsburgh Public Schools. From high school sweethearts to co-workers, here are 17 couples who were proud to say “We fell in love at Pittsburgh Public Schools!”
Share your own stories on social media and tag #LovePPS
Darlene and Robert Guzzi,
Peabody High SchoolDarlene (Huff) and Robert Guzzi fell in love at Pittsburgh Public Schools in the 1960s. On Friday, January 24, 2020 they celebrated FIFTY years of marriage! Mr. and Mrs. Guzzi met in seventh grade at Fort Pitt School, they both went to Peabody High School, and graduated in June 1969. Robert dropped out in April of their junior year to join the army and he was deployed to Vietnam in August 1968.The couple got married on January 24,1970. They will commemorate the milestone with an Alaskan Cruise this summer. Their two sons and five grandchildren will also be on the cruise.
Krystal and Derek Smith
Krystal and Derek Smith are high school sweethearts but they went to different PPS schools. Mrs. Smith attended Peabody High School serving on the varsity volleyball team, and Mr. Smith played football for the Oliver Bears. They met at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland through a mutual friend. They started dating right before senior year of high school in 2001. The Smiths have been an item for 18 years and married for four years. They have a four-year-old son who they hope will be in a PPS kindergarten classroom next year. The Smiths recently welcomed a new baby boy to their family.
Mrs. Smith is a math teacher at Pittsburgh Faison and Mr. Smith is a tip staffer for the Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania.
Sharon and Mark Brentley, Perry High School
Sharon (Ramsey) and Mark Brentley met while both attending Pittsburgh Perry High School. Mr. Brentley asked her to his senior prom in 1975, and he then escorted Mrs. Brentley to her junior and senior proms over the next two years. On Saturday, July 17, 1982, the couple got married and together they raised five children. Four of their children graduated from their alma mater, Perry High School, and their youngest graduated from Pittsburgh Obama in 2016. The couple have six little grandchildren all under the age of six.
This year marks 38 years that Mr. and Mrs. Brentley will be married. Mrs. Brentley is a history teacher at Pittsburgh Perry High School, and Mr. Brentley is a former School Board Member for Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Dr. Eva and Eric Allen, Arsenal 6-8
“Some of my best days as a teacher were when I was with my wife. PPS will hold a special place in our hearts,” said Eric Allen.
Dr. Eva and Eric Allen are two proud PPS educators who fell in love at Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8 in 2000. After teaching there one year, the couple transferred to Knoxville, where Dr. Allen taught second grade and Mr. Allen was a primary learning support professional. While at Knoxville, they got married and have been for 16 years. After Knoxville closed, they both taught at Pittsburgh Liberty. During their time at Pittsburgh Liberty, their family grew.
The Allens have three boys who are currently honor roll students in PPS. Mr. Allen is a proud Pittsburgh Westinghouse graduate, and Dr. Allen was a student teacher at Schenley High School. It is clear that, for the past 16 years, the Allen family is invested in Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Currently, Mr. Allen is a learning support teacher at Pittsburgh Greenfield and Dr. Allen is a learning environment specialist for PPS Student Support Services.
Rachel and Aaron Strader, Pittsburgh Westinghouse
Rachel (McBride) and Aaron Strader met their junior year at Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy 6-12 in 2004. As captain of the football team and marching band drum major, Mr. and Mrs. Strader were leaders on and off the field. The couple won 2003-2004 Homecoming King and Queen.
After dating for a year and a half, they welcomed their first child. They now have four little Straders. The children, who take after mom and dad, are all-star athletes in wrestling, football, track, dance, and cheer.
"We are so proud to have beaten the odds and proved those wrong who doubted the strength of our love!"
Ashley Rovnak and Joey Scheible, Brashear High School
Ashley Rovnak and Joey Scheible met in Mr. Gray's science class during their senior year at Pittsburgh Brashear. Ashley and Joey were complete opposites and actually hated each other for first few months. But, thanks to that science class, they've been together ever since! They welcomed their first child in 2006 shortly after Ashley's graduation, and, now, they have three children. All three kids attend Pittsburgh Brookline and have the same principal their parents had, John Vater.
Savy and Ron Smith, Arsenal 6-8
Savy In and Ron Smith met at Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8 in 1992 as classmates. For high school, they went their separate ways-- Savy attended Pittsburgh Perry and Ron headed to Peabody High School. Ron ran into a mutual friend in 1998 and asked about Savy. The friend gave Ron Savy's phone number, and he called her immediately. On that call, Ron stated he always had a crush on her in middle school and loved looking at the back of her head in class.
That one phone changed everything. The couple have been together ever since. They have one daughter who currently attends Pittsburgh Linden. "I love that we both are accepting of the difference in our cultures."
Tabatha and Blake Lakomy, CAPA
Tabatha and Blake met at Pittsburgh CAPA (Homewood location) in 2002. Tabatha was a visual arts major and Blake was a technical theatre major. They started dating November 2002 and it’s been nothing but love ever since! Tabatha graduated in 2003, the last class to graduate from the old building. Blake graduated in 2004, the first class to graduate from the new Downtown location. In 2003, at Mrs. Lakomy’s senior prom, the couple took a photo that would later be featured in two published books, America 24/7 and Pennsylvania 24/7 (pictured below).
The couple married on September 26, 2009, and recently celebrated 10 years. They have two kids, one child attends Pittsburgh Beechwood and the other attends the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf.
Amy and Michael Barr, Perry High School
Amy (Galloway) and Michael Barr met at Pittsburgh Perry. Michael was a football player and Amy a cheerleader. They began dating after high school. Mike was the only one with a car so he spent the next three years driving to Penn State to visit Amy. Mrs. Galloway-Barr graduated a year early so she could come home to marry him. It was the best decision!
The couple have been happily married for 15 years and have three sons. Mrs. Galloway-Barr teaches English at Pittsburgh Allderdice and is very proud to call PPS home.
Tonia and Donta Green, Pittsburgh Westinghouse
Tonia (Charles) and Donta Green bleed blue and gold! The Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy 6-12 graduates met in ninth grade and became best friends. They both attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and began dating two years after graduation. Mr. and Mrs. Green have been married for six years. The couple has a two year old daughter... and a little one on the way!
Donta is the head football coach at Pittsburgh Westinghouse, where he lead the team to its first city league championship since 1996. Tonia is the Community Schools Site Manager at Pittsburgh Arlington.
Lauren and Al Kovacs, Schenley High School
Lauren and Al Kovacs met while both teaching English at Schenley High School in 2008. The Kovacs made it official in 2012, and, now, they both teach at Pittsburgh South Brook. Mr. and Mrs. Kovacs fell in love at Pittsburgh Public Schools!
Kathleen and Marc Accamando, Carrick High School
Kathleen and Marc Accamando started dating in 1987, but they met in Mrs. Fagan's seventh grade homeroom at Knoxville Middle School. Years later, Marc asked Kathleen to go steady on the bus ride back from Kennywood Park. The Carrick Marching Band had played at the amusement park where Marc played trumpet and Kathleen played the clarinet. The couple has been making music together ever since!
Marc and Kathleen got married on Saturday, April 20, 1996. The couple has three children-- Sy, Olivia, and Marc Jr. They are looking forward to their 24th wedding anniversary this Spring.
Lenell and Kevin Reid, Peabody High School
Lenell (Pennix) and Kevin Reid met at Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8, but it wasn't until they had African American History together in Room 235 at Peabody High School that they became a couple. Mr. Reid was a stand-out basketball player and Mrs. Reid was a pretty decent quarter-mile runner. It was Mrs. Reid's bold moves that officially made these two an item. In the middle hallway, Mrs. Reid declared, “You will be my husband one day and the father of my children!"
The couple has been married for 30 years, and they have two adult children, Canaan and Raven. Both Canaan and Raven are proud PPS graduates, Pittsburgh Obama and Pittsburgh CAPA respectively. Mr. Reid is a retired PPS teacher and coach, and Mrs. Reid is a project specialist for Family, Youth & Community Engagement in the Superintendent's Office. The Reids enjoyed a lot of pleasant memories at PPS-- Coach Reid was the last basketball coach at Schenley High School, Canaan scored the last two buckets for the Schenley Spartans, and the Reids fell in love at Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Amy and Paul DeLeone, Washington Polytechnic Academy
Amy and Paul DeLeone met at Washington Polytechnic Academy in 1994. Mrs. DeLeone was in her first year as a reading teacher, and Mr. DeLeone was a wood shop student teacher. Their romance moved quick! Their first date was Halloween 1994, the couple got engaged December 1994, and married in May 1995.
"People thought we were crazy!" But, 25 years and two kids later, the DeLeones are happier than ever! Mrs. DeLeone is currently a reading teacher at Pittsburgh Banksville, and Mr. DeLeone is the Production Technology Chair at Pittsburgh CAPA. To celebrated their 25th anniversary, the couple plans to visit their old stomping grounds, which is now a hotel.
Ronniece and Rico Sirmons
Ronniece and Rico Sirmons met in their neighborhood, but they graduated from different PPS high schools. Mrs. Sirmons used to catch a lot of heat when she wore her then-boyfriend's Brashear letter man jacket to Oliver High School. But, even in 1991, she had to represent her man! The couple have been together for 32 years, and in June, they will celebrate 20 years of marriage.
The Sirmons have five children, and they all graduated from PPS schools. Mrs. Sirmons is a math teacher at Pittsburgh Carmalt.
Nichole Mazza-Fredley and Robert Fredley, Oliver High School
Nikki (Mazza) and Robert Fredley have been together since their days at Oliver High School. Nikki met Rob in their ninth grade algebra class when he borrowed her notebook. She couldn't find him for a week, in an attempt to retrieve her notebook. When Mrs. Mazza-Fredley finally found him, they sparked a conversation and began dating. Mr. Fredley faithfully attended every one of Mrs. Mazza-Fredley's softball games cheering her on.
The Fredleys have been married for two decades, and have two beautiful girls together. The couple recalls that there have been many ups and downs, but "we are each other’s best friend."
India and Charles Coleman, Carrick High School
India and Charles Coleman met in Mrs. Dickersons’ eighth period class at Pittsburgh Carrick in 2001. Mrs. Coleman remembers her husband as a “bad boy” that she really liked. The couple broke up after their freshman year, but they reunited as adults after Mr. Coleman found her on Facebook. It’s been happily-ever-after since then!
The Colemans have been married for five years. They have three children, including a PPS student at Pittsburgh Allegheny.
All photos are courtesy of Jason Cohn