Love in the Lense of High School Sweethearts


Kelley Dunn

Roger and Lori Dunn reflect back on the memories they’ve made together by looking through old photographs and yearbooks.

30 years of marriage later, high school sweethearts Roger and Lori Dunn never would’ve imagined their sophomore year romance would turn into a lifetime of companionship. 

My parents’ love story began in 1987 in what are now the halls of RMS. He was on the wrestling team and she kept track of statistics for the meets. Not long after meeting, they began to spend every extra moment they could together. 

“We’d see each other during the day and talk to each other at night and then later on when we could drive, I’d show up on weekends,” said Roger.

From being voted prom king and queen to spending summer vacations together, they had what most would say is a perfect, movie-like relationship. However, during their senior year, my mom found out she was pregnant and due Aug. of 1989, shortly after graduation. 

“We decided to commit to marrying each other and raising this child. Then the real work happened. It got tough, but we had faith that we were doing the right thing,” stated Roger.

A strong relationship takes two people putting aside their expectations and loving one another through everything life brings. Often people think sticking out with a commitment in spite of their feelings will just make for an unhappy life down the road. But my mom had a bit of a different view from her experiences.

“If they’re just depending on the feeling of love, you’re right it doesn’t (last). It’s a commitment. You have to make that commitment no matter what and when you stick with it, then you love them more than you did (before). I love him more now than I did when we were first married… You gotta think of the other person, that’s what makes it work,” said Lori.

We can learn a lot about love by observing what other couples have gone through. It wasn’t as simple as “just committing” for my parents. They experienced times of hurt and moments where it would be easier to just give up. But they mutually saw the importance of nurturing the love they shared with each other.

Roger stated, “It’s not just a simple, “I heart you” in red. The heart now has these different hues and all these different memories and when things go bad and get good again you can cherish, wow we stuck it through this awful time… Our love for each other is a deeper color because we’ve committed.” 

Sometimes we can be quick to judge love as merely the pit of butterflies in our stomach or the feeling you get when that special person shows you affection. However, love is a great deal more. It’s found in patience, trust, and selflessness. We love it when we see someone’s most human parts and decide to stay anyways. 

“There’s someone out there that will love you just as much as you love them,” said Roger.

Whether you meet your significant other in high school or five years down the road, know that any relationship will take work. But to love boldly and be vulnerable with another person is one of life’s greatest gifts. And that, in and of itself, makes the struggle worth it.