"Who's wearing the costume?"
That's the question Brooklands Elementary School students always ask when their school mascot stops by their weekly assemblies.
On Friday, when art teacher Jessie Drew, who is from Clawson, was asked to remove the mascot's mask, the whole school got the answer — and Drew received the surprise of her life.
Underneath the bear costume was Drew's boyfriend, Barron Cline. He isn't a teacher at the school — and she wasn't expecting to see him underneath all that brown plush. It was part of Cline's plan, orchestrated with the help of Principal Teresa Simonetti, that ended with a little mood music and a diamond ring.
Cline proposed to Drew, his girlfriend of six years, in front of the entire school during the assembly.
"I had no idea," said Drew, 26. This is her first year of teaching; she and Cline met while students at Farmington Harrison High School; they live in Clawson.
Cline, 24, said he got the idea for the proposal after Drew came home from work on Fridays and told him about the school's excitement during the weekly Friday morning assemblies. The assemblies are part of the Olweus anti-bullying program that the school adopted last year. Each week the students learn an important message related to their motto: "Be Responsible; Be Respectful; Be Safe and Ready to Learn."
"She tells me how much fun the kids have guessing who's wearing the mascot costume, so I decided to have a little fun," he said.
Simonetti was in on the secret, which she kept from the rest of her staff. In fact, she held the diamond ring in her pocket until the moment Cline got down on one knee. Simonetti gave her art teacher the day off so that the couple could share the news of their engagement with friends and family.