Editor's Note: Nicholas B. Snavely '10 and Tina Y. Tan '10 are no longer engaged.
Nicholas B. Snavely's '10 first impression of Tina Y. Tan '10 couldn't have been that great. After all, she was mad at him for having received the science department's award for being the student with the highest grade in the class.
That was ninth grade.
Three years later, as Tan exited her second period Theory of Knowledge class at Inglemoor High School in Seattle, Wash., she found Snavely waiting outside with white and yellow flowers in hand. His former competitor agreed to be his prom date.
They weren't sure if their young relationship was going to last. He was going to the University of Michigan, and she was leaving for Harvard, putting the high school sweethearts 800 miles apart. During their freshman year in college, they saw each other all of three times.
"I think that the first challenge was getting through the first year," Tan said. "That was something that gave us both an idea of how well our relationship was."
After a year apart, Snavely applied to transfer and was accepted to Harvard. As luck would have it, he was also placed in Lowell House, where Tan was assigned.
The two tried to be in the same classes, even though she concentrated in molecular and cellular biology and he in economics.
The pair also stuck together outside of the classroom. By the end of their sophomore year, they'd become co-presidents of the Cambridge Microfinance Initiative.
While Tan was away at the annual Lowell House garden party during senior week this May, Snavely gathered photos of the couple through the years and arranged them with an "elaborate display" of flowers.
"He is really, really sincere," Tan said of her fiancé, "and he always puts the people he loves and cares about above everything else."
"What I like most about Tina is her passion for life," Snavely said. "She's one of those rare people who can find excitement and happiness anywhere, and even small things like seeing a group of baby ducks on the side of the road can make her all ecstatic and bubbly."
Tan and Snavely will wed on Aug. 16, 2010 in Seattle, Wash. The two plan to spend a year in China before applying to medical school and law school.
—Staff writer Xi Yu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.