“Be Mine” Twenty Years Later

By Jia Williams, Opinion Editor

Twenty years ago, in an Arkansas town, two future Falls Church teachers met and became high school sweethearts. Geometry teacher Tiffany Ailsworth was a ninth grader at the local middle school, while precalculus and computer science teacher Nekeya Ailsworth was an eleventh grader at the nearby high school. Although their age gap only allowed them to attend the same school for one year that year was filled with laughs and memories.

“He would grab the hall pass and make a funny face through the window of the door to my English classroom,” says Mrs. Ailsworth. “I know it’s common now, but back then you didn’t dare do that because you didn’t want to get in trouble.”

After Mr. Ailsworth’s senior year, he moved to Virginia to live with his father and attend Park College. The time they were apart was difficult for the young couple, but through daily phone calls and frequent visits the challenge of distance was was easy to manage. After the two years they were apart, both completed their graduate studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Keeping up with a high school sweetheart during a period of intense personal growth like college is no easy task. To help current couples, the Ailsworths have a few pieces of advice. Of the many things they learned from their attempts to keep their relationship strong, they specifically emphasize that compromise is the key to a successful relationship.

“You have to be forgiving and you have to really work hard to see past flaws,” Mrs. Ailsworth said. Mr. Ailsworth agrees that strong relationships require equal effort from both parties. “Times get tough, but you have to persevere,” he says. “ Don’t give up too easily — you have to want to be together for it to work out.”