GOWANDA – There’s nothing quite like a wedding. The postponed nuptials were met with nary a quivering lip this week at Gowanda Elementary School, where a much anticipated and very quick wedding was held Monday after being rescheduled Friday due to a snow day.
In their quest to provide a quality education, Kindergarten teachers Samantha Chiappone, Caroline Ventresca, Kathleen Saia, Hillary Fagnan, Megan Kasprzak and Krysta Brind’Amour teamed up this month to throw a quaint and picturesque wedding for the letters Q and U. Sporting hand-decorated Q&U bow ties or hair bows for the occasion, the students gathered together in the commons area in front of a digital backdrop to politely observe the unique ceremony.
Wearing Mickey Mouse ears re-styled as a white veil and black top hat, bride Bexley Taylor and groom Jack Tripi were joined by flower girl Victoria Gabel for the ceremony that included a precious processional in front of their proud peers.
For a majority of these young Panthers, it was their first time as wedding guests and they took their roles very seriously.
“When the bride started down the hallway, one little student of mine started to quiver in excitement and asked if she could hold my hand,” said teacher Samantha Chiappone, noting the picturesque ceremony and reception appealed to the students’ inquisitive nature.
The teachers collaborated to encourage the students to enjoy the experience while practicing their manners and getting better acquainted with behavior expectations at large social situations.
Teacher Caroline Ventresca, unquestionably a highly qualified officiant, led the quintessential vows:
“We are gathered here today to join Q and U in matrimony. We will join you together to make words like quarter, queen, question, quarterback, quilt, quick and quiet — a teacher’s favorite word,” quipped Ventresca, before turning to the bride. “Q, you must understand that you may be needed to make other words like umbrella and underwear, which have no need for Q. You will need to support Q on all words! U, you are always with the Q, OK? Always, OK? She cannot be on her own. Like all married couples, they will have their quarrels, but Q and U must stick together like quicksand to solve any quandaries. Q, do you take U to be your lawful wedded partner, to have and to hold in spelling, reading and writing? Through quarrels and quiet, even if you may be needed for another word?”
“I do,” replied Bexley quickly, with no qualms about unrequited love, as she clutched her bouquet of blue and white flowers.
“U, do you take Q to be your lawful wedded partner, to have and to hold in spelling, reading and writing, til death do you part?” quizzed Ventresca.
“Yes,” answered Jack confidently, with no need to quell his nerves or calm his queasy stomach.
Seeking their exquisite approval, Ventresca turned to the dozens of 5- and 6-year-olds watching the ceremony and queried: “Do any letters of the alphabet have any reason why you think Q and U should not be joined together? Please speak now or forever hold your quiet.”
Met with silence, Ventresca pronounced them “QU,” turned to Jack and declared “You may now fist-bump the bride!”
The reception that followed was anything but quiet as 80-some students quaffed orange juice and gobbled Tim Bits donated by their teachers for the celebration. Their joy seemingly quadrupled, the Kindergartners squeezed more fun out of this memorable school day together by cutting loose to the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey – two wedding reception dancefloor favorites. You could hear their shoes squeaking on the square tiles, their squeals of delight ubiquitous throughout the school.
Follow the district on TikTok @gowandacsd for a special video of the ceremony.
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