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Hoover Sweethearts Get Engaged on Valentine’s Day

Some Hoover High School students may have felt like Valentine’s Day was just another Tuesday on campus, but for alumni Roger Greenlaw Jr. and Christi McCauley, it was more than just a visit to their alma mater — it was their first day committing to each other as an engaged couple.
“I was a little concerned about things falling together, but the proposal was just one of those collections of moments that are bigger than you,” Greenlaw said. “It’s easy to get carried away, like swimming in a big wave, but you just have to go with it and enjoy the moment. It’s kind of crazy, but I guess when you have that much love, it just washes over you.”
The pair first met as students more than four decades ago, while serving in student government together. They dated briefly before Greenlaw graduated in 1977, with McCauley graduating a year behind him in 1978. After high school, they led separate lives, married different people and raised their respective children.

Hoover High School sweethearts Christi McCauley and Roger Greenlaw Jr. got engaged at their alma mater on Valentine’s Day.

Forty-five years since losing contact, however, they found themselves single at the same time, and were reunited as a result of a chance phone call from a former classmate who asked them if they wanted to reconnect.
To McCauley’s delight, Greenlaw called her the next day, with that conversation marking a new chapter in their budding relationship. Though both were eager to be in each other’s lives again, there was one speed bump for them to overcome — living in different states. Despite Greenlaw residing in Colorado and McCauley in Oregon, they didn’t let the distance get in their way by staying in communication and traveling back and forth.
Fast forward to Tuesday, Feb. 14 — exactly one year from a Valentine’s Day date that solidified their newfound romantic feelings — when Greenlaw’s plan to ask McCauley to marry him unfolded at the place where it all began: Hoover High School.
After flying into town and going on a scheduled tour of the campus with Principal Jennifer Earl, the couple, who were dressed in Hoover purple, walked with Earl to the athletic field. Overhead, a banner message expressing Greenlaw’s affection for his valentine, prompted the emotional proposal that brought McCauley to tears.

Christi McCauley and Roger Greenlaw Jr. pose for a junior prom photo. – Photo courtesy Roger Greenlaw Jr.

“When we got out to the track, the kids were all pointing up to the sky, and there was an airplane with a banner attached to it,” McCauley said. “I thought to myself, ‘That’s so cool!’ and then I really looked at it and realized my name was on it. I began to cry and when I turned around, Roger got down on one knee, took off his hat and asked me to marry him. I felt like a queen. I was so touched, and I still am.”
Student athletes, who happened to be on the field, cheered them on, alongside an excited Earl, who exclaimed, “She said yes!”
“I always say ‘Welcome home’ to alumni when they visit,” said Earl, who helped coordinate the proposal. “Hoover is a special place that only those who’ve walked the halls understand. It is something one must experience. When you get to see the connection the alumni have in person, it is even more special.”
The engagement ring, placed on McCauley’s finger, was adorned with purple stones, one of the school’s colors — the detail being a testament to Greenlaw’s thoughtfulness.
The sight of McCauley practicing her discus throw from the shot put ring at Hoover is a scene from Greenlaw’s teenage years that he vividly recalls of his high school sweetheart — a memory that has left a lasting impression on him ever since. It’s also the inspiration behind ending the tour on the track field.
“When she threw the discus, I was amazed,” Greenlaw said. “I knew it wasn’t just some summer frisbee toss at the beach. It was something really special. I’ve never forgotten that memory.”
That same day, they discovered that McCauley’s discus record, which she achieved at the 1978 girls’ state championship, still stands. However, her winning meet during her senior year took place within a few days of the end of the school year, so her achievement was too late to be featured in the yearbook or school newspaper.
To make the proposal all the sweeter, Greenlaw was determined to shine a spotlight on her accomplishment by going back to where he first saw McCauley in her element — inside the school’s shot put ring, where they stood after she said “yes” to becoming his bride.
“Unlike some guys, I knew Christi would say ‘yes,’ because we had talked about getting married before. … But even so, in that moment, when you get down on your knee and look up at the woman of your dreams and ask her to marry you, you just become giddy with emotions and that’s just the way I felt — like a kid in high school all over again.”
McCauley said she believes their love story was fate playing itself out.
“I think God knew that we were ready to settle down with one another,” she said. “He always had us in mind … to be together, and we feel very strongly about that.”
McCauley was previously married to her first husband for 36 years, with whom she had four children before his untimely death. Years later, McCauley said she began reminiscing about her time spent at Hoover and the people she had known there, including Greenlaw, who had one son from his prior marriage.
“I had actually tried to find Roger,” McCauley remembered. “He was just a special person and a good friend, and I couldn’t find him on Facebook, which was disappointing.
“Over the years, I had always wished I could have gone to his class reunions,” she added. “I would think about it every time my reunions would come up.”
Now, moving forward, they’ll be invited to attend each other’s reunions, and one day introduce the other as husband or wife. In the meantime, the couple will be closing their distance, with Greenlaw planning to move to Oregon in the spring to be with his beloved.
Following the proposal, the fiancés rode in a limousine to their reservation at the Castaway in Burbank — the very restaurant where they shared a meal as junior prom dates. But while on the way, Greenlaw surprised her with a corsage from a flower shop to embrace the nostalgia of the occasion.
“It was on Valentine’s Day last year that we just really decided that we belonged together,” McCauley said. “We just knew it was right. … When we reconnected, we hit it off pretty quickly and to have that come all the way around like this was perfect.”
Greenlaw agreed: “I am marrying Christi, and I want to make sure she’s happy for the rest of her life. It has come full circle, and we know we can live our lives together happily. Christi is the love of my life and the one for me.”

First published in the Feb. 18 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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