The friendly classmate sitting next to you now may one day become the love of your life.
Shanae Bryan and Chris Bryan met as graduate students in the Temple Teacher Residency (TTR) program back in 2019. The happily married couple recently moved to Overbrook and are expecting their second child.
Their first encounter, during the TTR selection day, where candidates give a mock lesson, was memorable to Chris. He was impressed by how engaging and well-prepared Shanae was for her lesson. "She produced handwritten handouts for everyone," he said. "They were all handmade and not printed, which I thought was super interesting. And she did an excellent job delivering the lesson."
Although they were friendly in class, the couple didn't really get to know each other until later that summer. Shanae remembers suggesting to their cohort that everyone should have a get-together to celebrate when their summer classes ended.
On the last day of the summer session, Chris was the only person from the cohort to respond, with a message to Shanae, "let's hang out!" she recalled. "I was trying to throw it out there, and he caught it. I just thought it was sweet. That moment really made me notice Chris."
As outdoor and nature lovers, they decided to visit Wissahickon Valley Park. The two classmates, soon to be lovebirds, ventured out to enjoy a short hike. Shanae was elated to make a local friend, as she was new to Philadelphia. As for Chris, he considered it their first date.
From there, Shanae and Chris continued bonding over conversations along the trails, and enjoyed dates at the pool, games of chess and so on. Their friendship naturally bloomed into a beautiful relationship. "Let's just stop seeing other people. Do you want to be my girlfriend?" Chris asked Shanae.
The #TempleMade duo now spend every day appreciating each other's presence. From purchasing their first home and getting married in October 2020, to taking dance classes together, to having their first - and now expecting their second - child, the couple shares a similar vision for life and what they want to build.
"Our motto is 'little by little, better and better,' said Chris. "We always ask ourselves how it can get any better than this, knowing that there is always a potential for things to get better, even when we think it is the best in the world," Shanae added. The couple has the promise engraved on their wedding rings as a reminder to always try their best.
Not only did Shanae and Chris start a Temple Made family, but Shanae also became a part of the TTR family in a new way. Now, she serves as the assistant director of alternative pathways into teaching, where she helps oversee the college's TTR program, the very program that brought them together.
"Temple is a big part of our lives. We try to build a good community in Philadelphia by expanding on the connections we've already made over the years at Temple. We met in college, and everyone here is family now. Our celebrations are always filled with Temple alumni and colleagues."