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School proposal leads to marriage
More than two years ago Chris Correia got down on one knee in front of the entire Lathrop Elementary School student body to propose to his girlfriend Kelly. Now the couple is married and recently purchased a home together. Correia is finishing his last semester in college hoping to follow in the footsteps of all of the teachers who inspired him. - photo by PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED

When Chris Correia got down on one knee inside of the multipurpose room at Lathrop Elementary School in April of 2015 he wasn’t quite sure what would happen.
It was there, in front of hundreds of students and at the elementary school he attended, that Correia put everything on the table and proposed to his longtime girlfriend Kelly. Both were working as instructional aides at the campus.
And for a few seconds, time stood still for the Sierra High School graduate – who received the blessing for his jaw-dropping idea from Lathrop Elementary Principal and mentor David Silveira – as every eye in the room was suddenly upon him.
She said yes, and since that day everything has been falling into place for Correia – now a 1-to-1 instructional aide at Sierra High School – who is making good on his long list of lofty goals that are falling like dominoes as he moves closer his goal of becoming a teacher.
Even if that was at one time unlikely for the self-professed “slacker” who didn’t realize until long after he had graduated the impact that his teachers had on his life.
“Reflecting back on it with the perspective of an adult I can see the how many teachers truly cared about me and the things that I was doing,” Correia said. “I was able to look back and see how much teachers actually do for their kids in their classrooms, and it made me want to do that for the rest of my life.”
The couple was married in June of last year, and just recently purchased their first home together in Modesto.
In December Correia will graduate from Stanislaus State and plans on getting into a classroom as quickly as possible – hoping to jump straight into the IMPACT intern program offered through the San Joaquin Office of Education.
While he doesn’t have a specific grade in mind, Correia said he would like to eventually make the transition into administration after gaining experience inside of the classroom. He believes that his college coursework coupled with the amazing examples that have been set for him while a student in Manteca Unified will provide the basic framework to succeed in his endeavor.
“I explained my desire to become a teacher to my wife like this – for the longest time I wanted to be a rock star,” Correia said. “I wanted to do the whole musician thing and while it could be called a silly dream, I got to get a glimpse of that when I toured playing shows all over California.
“But when I got to work with kids in an afterschool program and see them on a regular basis, they made me feel like I was a rock star and I found out how awesome it was to inspire kids to pursue their own education.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.