CARMEL — A once in a lifetime surprise at West Clay Elementary School in Carmel has gone viral.
Rachel Leibold loves her second-grade students as if they were her own.
Every week, a mystery reader visits the class. Typically, the guest is a parent, but it was Austin Dunwoody’s visit that went viral.
“I knew I wanted him to meet these kids. This date had been planned for a long time,” Leibold said.
Leibold was all smiles as Dunwoody read to the class. Little did she know he was creating memories that will last a lifetime.
He brought her to the front of the classroom, then went off script.
“There’s no question that I want you as my wife, but there is one thing missing: a beautiful diamond cut,” Dunwoody said. “Rachel, here I am getting down on one knee. With all my heart, will you marry me?”
She said yes!
It’s a surprise Leibold says she didn’t see coming.
“When he was reading the poem to me, I thought he was just being nice in front of my second graders. But when he said he was just missing one thing, I said ‘oh my goodness, he’s about to do this.’ I had no idea it was coming,” Leibold said.
Dunwoody even bought her second graders ring pops as a celebration.
“I think some of them caught on before I did. You can hear their squealing before. I thought that was really fun and cute. The whole class was chanting,” Leibold said.
The newly engaged couple met four years ago at Purdue University. They say they couldn't be happier to celebrate this new chapter of life.
“I feel very overwhelmed, and I am very thankful. This has been a cool opportunity,” Leibold said. “I not only get to celebrate this season of life with my fiancé, but with my students who were just as excited as me.”
As special as this was for Leibold, she wants everyone to remember this about her moment.
“I just want people at home to know that teaching is an amazing job, especially with elementary kids,” Leibold said.
Leibold says her parents and the school’s principal were in on the surprise. She says none of this would be possible without their faith, family and friends.