Campus proposal for Newman Graduates

26/02/2018 by Sinead Staunton

Alumni of Newman - Jonathan and Shamim
Earlier this month the alumni office was thrilled to play cupid for a pair of Newman graduates, facilitating a Valentine’s Day proposal outside the main lecture theatre. Jonathan Palmer and Shamim Khalid, studied their BSC Key Stage 2/3 ICT together, graduating in 2009. They both returned to Newman to study their Masters in Education, graduating again in 2012.

Newman, where it all started…

Although their romance didn’t start during their time at Newman, Jonathan and Shamim’s friendship grew over the years after they graduated.  Jonathan remembers “After our undergraduate degree we kept in touch. One day we had a flyer from Newman advertising their masters degree. At the time the government were discussing making all teachers do a masters so we thought we’d get ahead of the game and do it together at Newman. Again after our masters our friendship developed further and became more serious. She’d drop small hints i.e. “this is a nice jewellers” and “this ring is nice.” I knew Shamim was the one I would ask to marry me. We always struggle to pin point an actual date we began our relationship. So I was even more determined that we would remember our engagement! I’ve never seen Shamim so speechless, overwhelmed and so surprised in all the years I’ve know her. It was truly magical for us both.”

Memories of their time at Newman

Reflecting on their time at Newman, Shamim recalls “ We first met outside the lecture theatre in the exact same spot where Jonathan proposed only 9 years ago. The conversation went along the lines of “I have to go now, I only stopped to talk to you to fill my time while waiting for my piano lesson!”. Some time-filler, as I’m now about to become his wife!”

Jonathan looks back fondly on his time at Newman with Shamim, with one of his favourite moments playing noughts and crosses in the lecture theatre “Shamim will tell you she always won. But that’s partly because she would cheat… Sorry play the game to her own rules!”

“In our youth nothing was funnier than catching each other off guard by pressing the computer chair leaver and see the shock on the other persons faces as the chair unexpectedly declined.”

“Shamim would often play pool with friends, however she was, how shall we say slightly vertically challenged. She would claim that her height, rather than her pool skills,  always prevented her from making that all important successful shot. After climbing on the table to get ready to take the shot, if she missed she’d demand to take it again. Or if the ball nearly went into the pocket, well that was good enough. Shamim was a big fan of helping the ball along and would gently roll it into the pocket. Another example of Shamim’s rules! This was a regular source of entertainment.”

A Valentine’s Day proposal

After an initial meeting with Alumni Officer, Bryan Turner to plan the proposal, Jonathan returned on Valentines Day to pop the question. “I was very excited to come back to Newman; it was comforting to see some things that have remained the same. I’m not at all romantic, but felt that the proposal should happen in a place where we both share memories. Newman was a part of our lives for just under 5 years, it built the foundations of our relationship. It seemed like a good choice and when I saw Shamim’s face and reaction to my proposal in the spot where we meet it confirmed for me that Newman was the perfect choice.”

The proposal took Shamim by total surprise, “I was told I was attending a work meeting arranged by my head teacher, which Jonathan had fabricated with her. On the Monday before I had told Jonathan that I was going back to Newman and it would be interesting to see how it had changed. After spending a few days, reminiscing on the good times we had at Newman, the day for the meeting soon arrived.”

“When I first turned to see Jonathan standing there smiling I thought he’s come to take me out for a surprise valentines meal. It wasn’t until he started walking towards me and held my hand to read the poem he had written that the plan started to unfold. He took to the floor, down on one knee, in the same spot we first met and asked me to marry him in his true prince charming way.”

“It took a few hours, even days, for all the events to finally sink in and this dream to feel like reality. Throughout the years of our friendship and love, Jonathan and I have never been able to keep things hidden from each other which is why I always thought I would always have an idea of when he was planning to propose. I can honestly say I was completely speechless when this unpredictable, thoughtful proposal was made, from the process of buying my perfect ring, contacting my colleagues to arrange for me to attend Newman, a preparation meeting at Newman to the grand finale proposal he thought through ever little detail and made my fairy-tale dream a reality. It certainly was a memorable time which we will cherish for our lifetime as husband and wife.”

Jonathan now works as an Intervention Teacher at a primary school in Coventry, and is also completing his Doctorate in Education at Wolverhampton University.  Shamim works as an Assistant Head teacher for Curriculum and Standards at a secondary school in Birmingham.

The happy couple have set the date for Summer 2019; and with all the excitement they have already booked their dream venue in Stratford upon Avon. Everyone at Newman wishes them a long and happy future together.