My YC Valentine

From long talks on the double swings, to devos in the courtyard of McGehee, to moonlit walks under the arch, the York College campus is full of romantic opportunities. As these couples can attest, love doesn’t always go the way you might expect, but when the Lord is in control, good things are sure to come.  

Love the Lord your God...

I met James at York College, but not during school. We actually met the summer before my high school senior year at Soul Quest, the teen camp they hold each summer. Being the ever boy-crazy girl I was, I went with the idea in mind that I could possibly find my future husband at this camp session. However, that first night during the devo, the speaker asked us something that made me reconsider my motives. "Who is sitting on the throne in our hearts?"

I realized that I was definitely at camp for the wrong reasons, and I prayed that God would be the desire of my heart, above a spouse. Little did I know, across the room James was praying the same thing. We met that day, and I guess you could say the rest is history! I will always remember, though, that God was very willing to fulfill my dreams, but only if I gave HIM my heart first and forever, above all else.

~Janette (Sigle) Foreman ’09

James and Janette Foreman
James '08 and Janette (Sigle) Foreman '09


Wrong Turn, Right Girl

Elise and I were freshmen in 2004. We had some mutual friends so we got to spend a little time together early on. I was a little intrigued by her and wanted to get to know her better.

She hated me. The word hate was used. Several times.

We had a couple of really, really bad first encounters. We went to Lincoln together very early in school with a group of people to see a movie that was all the rage back then, a little something called Napoleon Dynamite. On the ride we butted heads constantly, which stressed me out and led to me taking a VERY wrong turn down a one way street, where Elise proceeded to scream, "You're going to kill us!! What's wrong with you? Why are you trying to kill us??"

Needless to say, we didn't have much interaction over the next couple of years.

Elise and I went to lengths to avoid one another until we were again brought back into each other's universes by a mutual friend, one Mark Smesrud ’10. Mark was one of my best friends and roommates, and Elise's choir folder partner. (I think Clark Roush is taking credit for our marriage to this day.) One night my friends and I sat down to high curb on the street out in front of the women's apartments.  Mark called Elise and invited her out to come hang out with us.

Elise and Jake Owens
Elise (Hart) '08 and Jake Owens '10

Through that re-introduction we managed to spend a little bit more time together here and there, eventually becoming friends, and then very close friends. One night in October, we began discussing the possibility of getting a "group" together to go to Lincoln and find something to do. Elise and I both agreed to ask a few roommates and other friends if they wanted to come on an adventure to Lincoln that night. I, of course, asked no one, and unbeknownst to me, neither did Elise. So when I pulled up to get the "group," out came Elise alone!

We went to Lincoln where I realized we were on an awkward solo night that some might call a "date," and in a panic, called a friend and fellow YC Alum Jesse Anderson ’08 to come to dinner with us and help cut the tension. (I still remember Elise getting up to use the restroom during dinner and Jesse staring at me and asking, "What is going on????")

After dinner Jesse cut us loose, and we went to a movie. The tension never went away, and we never exactly called it a date...but a week later, we found ourselves back in Lincoln on our first official date. I got us lost, couldn't find the restaurant, and made a complete fool of myself, but by the end of the night I had at last begun my last and best relationship with my best friend and future wife. Because Elise was kind enough to give me a second chance, we now have a happy home in Omaha with a dog and a bizarre, hairless cat, and I've never been happier!

~Jake Owens ’10


The Big Question

When Benny Nowell ’93 proposed to Niki Wood ’92, he chose his timing well. It was right after choir rehearsal in Gurganus Hall, when all of their friends were nearby to witness the event.

Benny and Niki Nowell
Niki (Wood) '92
and Benny Nowell '93

Benny told the story from the Bible about Isaac and Rebekah. Isaac’s servant was sent to find him a wife, but along the way there, he got nervous about choosing the wrong girl, so he made an agreement with God that whichever woman came to the well and offered not only him a drink, but offered to give his camels water too, she would be the one for Isaac. After talking briefly about our year long engagement, Benny told all of our friends that there comes a time in every man’s life when he has to ask that all important question. He got down on one knee, gazed into my eyes and said…

‘Niki, will you water my camels?’

~Niki (Wood) Nowell '92


Registering for Romance

Jason and I met on a balmy August day while sitting in Sack Hall. We were in line for registration.  Registration was completed in the gym, and we were at the President's office.  Needless to say, we were at the back of the line. This gave an amazingly bubbly freshman plenty of time to meet the extremely hot junior sitting next to her. We talked, joked and laughed and were getting along famously, when they shut down registration for lunch. President Baker magically appeared with free frosty coupons (which was amazing since it was roughly 115 degrees in that hallway!) and told us to return after lunch. Jason took me, Emily Blanchard and Phil Rowland out to Wendy’s.  After cooling off, we resumed waiting. 

We did not instantly fall in love that day. I did, but it would take Jason many more months of flirting and dating all of the wrong girls before he realized that Miss Right was RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM!  He asked me to be his girlfriend in Middlebrook Hall (yes, people did live there once!) on April 15, 1998. Ever since, it has been nothing but BLISS!  I must say, none of this would have been possible without great people like Emily Blanchard and Phil Rowland who listened tirelessly to me wondering why Jason didn't act sooner.  Also, to John Baker III for putting us both on stage crew together at Songfest, he knew what he was doing!  However, all things happen in God's time and I am so grateful for York College and my AWESOME husband Jason!

P.S.  Should I mention that the night before they put the clock tower on the Mackey Center that we snuck in there and kissed?  :)

~Kendra (Sykes) Matkins ‘03

Kendra and Jason Matkins
Kendra (Sykes) ‘03 and Jason Matkins '00


YC Swing Works its Magic

I met my love at YC. It was in the first week of school. I was a cool sophomore sitting on the swing.

One of my best friends, Donna (Busch) Embray ‘92, came walking up with a group. She made introductions.

There were two guys in her group. "These guys are from Iowa. This is Steven Kendall."

At least that is what I heard her say.

I sat there and looked...and tried to look like I wasn't looking...and kept thinking..."yeah, yeah, yeah...but what is the name of that other guy?!"

Turns out their names were Steve...and Kendall.

Kendall McCord.

Turns out, I liked his name so much I took it for my own. We’re going on 21 years this May.

~Beckie (Luker) McCord ’90

Beckie and Kendall
Beckie (Luker) ’90 and Kendall McCord '91


Love on the risers

Freshman year at YC one of my favorite professors was Dr. Roush. I was impressed by how often he talked about how he pampered and treasured his wife and how he taught his two sons to do the same for their future wives. Though I had firmly set myself against pursuing any relationships at college, I decided that Dr. Roush would make the most amazing father-in-law ever.

Renee and Matt Roush
Renee (Willard) '10 and Matt Roush '06

His son's girlfriend got wind of this and decided that she and Mitch, DR's youngest son, would introduce me to his older brother, Matt.  They pointed him out to me one day in choir and told me that I had to introduce myself to him. Thinking nothing of it, I walked up, shook his hand and said, "Hi. My name is Renee. I am going to marry you someday." (Naturally, I was kidding.) Then I said, "Dang it, now I see the family resemblance. I had missed it before because your curly hair and facial structure kind of reminded me of a Greek mythological god. I have to go sing now. Bye!" I then scampered away, never intending to speak to him again. (To those who would say that I was trying to flirt with him, I truly was not. Matt has very chiseled features, pale marble-like skin and swept-back curly hair. My first thought upon noticing him was that he resembled some Grecian bust.)

After choir I turned around and was surprised to see Matt standing behind me. He said, "Do you like coffee?" I answered that I did. He said, "Good, then you are coming to coffee with me tonight at seven." Befuddled by the fact that this was not a question, my response was, "Um...I...uh...Okay."  Sometimes love is very ironic. I jokingly said I was going to marry him. Five years later, I did.

~Renee (Willard) Roush ‘10


The right moves...toward God

Greg was the star of the wrestling team and I was the wrestling manager. I hung out with him and his roommates a lot, but never seriously considered dating any of them, because they were not Christians in word or deed. They were merely at YC to wrestle. My freshman year, I played Singled Out and won a date with Greg. It was fun, but went nowhere.

Jaclyn and Greg Smith
Jaclyn (Coehoorn) '08 and Greg Smith '07

About a year later, Greg started studying the Bible with the wrestling coach Russ Dudrey and a teammate. We began having long conversations about his religious background and about mine. He started coming to devos with me, and then began to come to church. After a few months of this, we started dating, and he was baptized shortly after. A year later, we were engaged, and a year after that, we married.

~Jaclyn (Coehoorn) Smith ’08


High School Days Sweethearts

When campus minister Mike Rush ’84 invited Amanda Tedford to come for High School Days during the spring semester of her senior year, he likely had no idea the impact it would have on her life. One of the first people she met at YC was Josh Couch, who was also visiting the campus. He invited her and a friend to sit with him and his brother in the cafeteria.

Amanda and Josh Couch
Amanda (Tedford) '05 and Josh Couch '05

Josh and Amanda became fast friends and ended up spending most of the weekend together. When High School Days was done, they exchanged email addresses. A few months later after graduation, Amanda moved to York to get a job before starting her freshman year. Josh followed. Their first date that summer was to get ice cream at Petro.

After a year of dating, Josh planned an elaborate scavenger hunt that led Amanda to many places on campus and in town that were important in their history—including Petro and the campus swing where they shared their first kiss. The last clue led her to the East Hill church building where Josh was waiting to propose. Seven months later, they were married.

“We swung on the white swing and I got my ring!” Amanda joked. This June, they will celebrate their ten year wedding anniversary.


Falling Head Over Heels. Literally.

I remember Justin from a history class at York College. He came in barefoot and with a ridiculous grin on his face. We also had one or two defense classes with Mr. Givens. However, Justin doesn’t remember me at all from these interactions.

Justin and Crystal Stoll
Crystal (Milota) '05 and Justin Stoll '03

Justin and I became friends after college. We both had gone to York College and had separate sets of friends throughout. However, we both found jobs in the York area and stayed a few years after college. Justin started to hang out with the Tandys, whom I call family. He began to work at the ethanol facility with me and we became friends. When he learned that I hadn’t been skiing, Justin decided to remedy this by going to visit his good friend Aaron Fletcher ‘02 and to bring me along to teach me to ski.

I mastered the bunny slope with ease and chose to graduate to a more advanced slope. The terrain park was closest, and I thought I would simply avoid the ramps while impressing my ‘friend’. The ice had a different thought and I hit a ramp directly. Flying into the air, I remember desperately reassuring myself “I can land. I can land.” As I flipped upside-down, the entire ski lift gasped excitedly, oohing and ahhing as they believed I would do something spectacular. But excited gasps turned to screams as I crashed headfirst, knocking myself unconscious by kicking myself in the forehead with my own ski, leaving a Harry Potter scar, and breaking my leg. I woke up in a helicopter. Justin was given a bag of my cut-up and bloody clothes and sent to the hospital 40 minutes away while ski resort workers shoveled my blood out of the snow to re-open the slope.

The first time Justin met my mother was at St. Anthony’s hospital in Colorado. He had to return to work, but called me every day for three weeks. When I returned to York, it would have been a burden for me to stay where I rented an upper room, so Justin moved out of his home and into his brother’s basement. He invited Michele Tandy ‘00 and me to live in his single-story home while I healed. He cooked meals for me sometimes and continued to pay for mortgage and utilities.

We started dating four months later, after another Tandy nudged Justin in the right direction. We courted for six months, and he then asked for my hand. Thirteen months after the ski accident, we were husband and wife.

~Crystal (Milota) Stoll ’05


A Barbaric Love Story

My husband Eric and I met at YC the fall of ’88. He claims to have noticed me when we had chorus for the first time. He heard my name called and his interest was captured since his sister and I share the same name only pronounced differently. She is S"oh"nja but I am S"ah"nja. He later walked into the switchboard where I worked for Work Study and said “Hi Sonja!”  This was alarming because I didn’t think I had met him.

Sonja and Eric Jacobson
Sonja (Kibby) '90 and Eric Jacobson '91

I guess the real reason we got together though is a little known YC cafeteria group called the Barbarian Table. Two of the Barbarians decided to play a trick on some freshman girls, myself included, and pretend to fight each other out a top floor window of Thomas Hall. Then they threw a fake body out the window to make all think the fight had taken a horrific turn.  Naturally we reacted like freshman girls would, me especially!

Later that evening while searching for a seat in the cafeteria I was spotted by the Barbarians and asked to sit at the famous table. Well who should be a Barbarian but Eric Jacobson?  Love blossomed and I never sat anywhere else!  As matter of fact we became the Ma and Pa Kettle of the Barbarian Table. He sat at one end and I sat at the other with all our Barbaric friends in between.

 We were married in Aug of ’91 and have enjoyed 20 years of marital bliss. We have three beautiful (although Barbaric at times) children.

--Sonja (Kibby) Jacobson '90


When Love Calls

Mark and I were acquainted but he wasn’t on my romance radar, since he was a sophomore and I was a senior. The same was not true for him. He had a major crush on me for months before he plucked up his courage and called me one night.

Mark and Chrystal Houston
Mark '06 and
Chrystal (Duquette) Houston '03

Now this was in the era before cell phones with caller ID. The phone rang in my dorm room—single ring, on-campus call. I was expecting a call from another guy friend about a project and I assumed this was him. For no particular reason, I answered the phone with a Brooklyn accent. “Joe’s Pool Hall, this is Natasha speaking. What would you like on your pizza?”

“Um…pepperoni?” said a male voice. The conversation continued this way for a few minutes before he finally said, “By the way, this is Mark.”

I was confused. “Mark who?” (Yes, I really said that.)

“Mark Houston.”

“Oh, hi. Sorry, I thought you were someone else.” Mark and I had a class together that semester. I asked if he was calling about homework.

“No…I was calling to see if you would like to have dinner with me sometime.”

He had the element of surprise on his side. Under other circumstances, I think I might have said no. Instead I said, “um, ok?”

We were married in Gurganus Hall less than a year later.

~Chrystal (Duquette) Houston ’03

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