Toponas When Bobbie Stirling and Chad Holloway started to date, dozens of little faces were peering around the corner to watch.
Both worked at the school in Rockaway Beach, Ore,. a coastal town of almost 1,300 people.
Holloway was the vice principal and Stirling was the band director. The school is where they met and the school is where the saga of their romance was followed with student jokes and giggles.
Most of the jokes revolved around their size difference, Holloway said.
Holloway stands well over 6 feet tall while Stirling measures just about 5 feet.
As the two settle into their new house in Oak Creek, they are aware of the part they are about to play as teachers at a small-town school.
"As a small-town teacher, you are a lot more visible than in an urban setting," Holloway said. "You end up being somewhat of a role model."
Teaching history is not just about discussing the Fourth of July anymore, he said.
"The role of the teacher is also to teach students how to get along with each other."
When he heard there is a lot of concern in Oak Creek about youths not having a lot to do, he said, "That's a common refrain in small towns. We said that in my hometown (of 4,500 people). From our perspective, there is a lot to do."
At Holloway's last job, he worked with students to start a sister-city relationship with a school in England.
He chose Bradford in Yorkshire as the sister school after doing Internet research with the student body president. They tried to choose a place that had a similar population and demographic as Rockaway Beach.
He focused his students on writing letters to their British counterparts, researching about their sister school and eventually, he and four students took a spring break trip to the United Kingdom.
"It's important to give kids from more rural settings exposure to the outside world," he said.
Both teachers say they have high expectations of their students.
"It is important that they're respectful in class and give their peers a right to learn," Holloway said.
The couple has been married a little more than a year now and this is their first move to a new town together.
They bought a small stone fae house with a wood stove in the kitchen, a neighborhood full of couples around their ages and a backyard for their golden retriever, Thatcher.
They've been in town two weeks. The books are unpacked and line the floor-to-ceiling shelves in the living room.
A map of the world hangs near their dining room table and Stirling's timpani (a bowl-shaped drum) is finally in the house after the couple removed the back door to fit it in.
They have visited their new classrooms and met a few of their students.
"Everyone here has been so friendly and helpful," Stirling said.
Stirling, a percussionist, will be the new music teacher at Soroco Middle School and the high school.
Holloway will be taking over as the seventh- and eighth-grade social studies teacher.
Neither is new to teaching. Stirling, now 36, studied education in her home state of Montana and taught in Montana schools for eight years.
She took a break for a year to study journalism but realized her love was teaching music.
She went back to school to get her master's degree at the University of British Columbia and went back to teaching in Washington.
The career was taking her farther away from the mountains and closer to the ocean.
Her heart, however, always stayed in the mountains.
"After a while, we got sick of the wet," she said. "Mold grows on everything."
Holloway, who grew up in Oregon's Hood River Valley, learned to ski long before he learned to surf and was more than happy to join Stirling in her search for a teaching job in Colorado.
They searched the Colorado Department of Education's Web site and found jobs that suited them both in a town called Oak Creek, population 849, elevation 7,400 feet.
"We were really impressed with (the principals) and surprised by Oak Creek. For a small town, there is a lot going on," Holloway said.
Holloway will also be coaching football this season.
He has played and coached for 16 years, he said.
With a new marriage, a new town, new jobs and a new house, the couple has a lot of adjusting to do, but they are following a path they chose for themselves and are excited to follow.
"We have made a conscious decision to work and stay in a small town," Holloway said. "I honestly believe that small schools are where you can be the most effective."