A Match Made in Crowley
Little did Ally Shepherd know when she took her seat in an Oakmont Elementary School classroom in 2001 that her future husband was among her second-grade classmates.
Shepherd and now-fiancé Daniel Pattison spent just one year together at Oakmont before she moved to Dallas Park Elementary when it opened. They crossed paths again in middle school and high school but never dated.
It wasn’t until 2018 that the two would reconnect on Facebook — and sparks would fly.
A year later, when Pattison decided he wanted to ask Shepherd to marry him, he knew the perfect place to do it.
“Oakmont was always a very special place for me and both my siblings, and it was the spot where Ally and I met,” he said.
In December, he popped the question in the same second-grade classroom where the two first met — even inviting their former teacher, Pamela Plummer, to be part of the special day.
“I walked into darkness, illuminated only by 250 tea lights placed into a pathway and scattered across the whole classroom,” Shepherd said. “That's when I saw Danny standing there, waiting for me. He asked me to marry him, and I said yes! Then he told me that all of our family and friends were behind the classroom divider curtain, and we all celebrated together.”
The proposal was a surprise to Shepherd, who thought she was just accompanying her mom, a secretary at June W. Davis Elementary School, on a quick Saturday errand to Oakmont Elementary after a science fair.
“It’s tough to convince someone to go back to their second grade classroom without a ruse,” Pattison said.
Shepherd’s mom, Julie, helped Pattison connect with the Oakmont secretary to make arrangements for the big surprise. She also made sure her daughter got there without suspecting anything.
“My mom told me she needed to drop off an envelope for the secretary at Oakmont Elementary from the science fair earlier that day,” Shepherd said. “We walked into the school and met Mrs. Birdwell, the Oakmont secretary. My mom handed her the envelope and then suggested that we walk through the school ‘just for fun’ to reminisce.
“That's something that is truly characteristic of my mom to want to do, so I didn't think anything of it. We walked down the halls and stopped by the door that was my second grade classroom, and my mom says, ‘Why don't you go in?’”
Shepherd said the surprise engagement blew her away.
“He had to put so much work into all the planning and coordinating in order to make it work, and then have the extra challenge of keeping it a secret from me,” she said. “All of that effort just showed me how much he loves me and cares about me. I've never had anyone go to so much trouble to make me happy before.”
The couple plans to get married in downtown Fort Worth in May 2021. Shepherd works as a licensed physical therapist, and Pattison is a project manager for a Dallas software company.
"We’re just over the moon. We are so happy for them,” Julie Shepherd, Ally’s mom, said. “They found their soulmates, and they didn’t necessarily know it back in second grade.”
What do these two remember about each other from second grade? Pattison recalls Shepherd was the first twin he ever met, and she remembers Pattison was cute and funny, and they used to play four square together at recess.
Far from the playground now, Shepherd said she fell for her future husband because he was everything she’d been looking for in a companion.
“He just made me instantly feel like he really cared about me, and we always had a fun time together,” she said. “Once Danny and I started dating, I just knew he was the one.”
Pattison spoke lovingly about Shepherd’s intelligence and how she sets the bar high, inspiring him to be the best he can be.
“I want her to be as proud of me as I am her,” he said.
Their shared history also has been a great foundation for their relationship.
“Dating somebody you went through all of elementary, middle school and high school in similar worlds with, it’s very, very easy,” Pattison said. “We have all these inside stories. It’s like starting a relationship that’s a lot further along.”
God’s timing for their relationship was also key.
“We found each other in a part of our lives that it really worked out,” Pattison said. “I honestly believe everything happens for reason. If we had dated in high school, it might not have worked out the same way.”
The 2012 North Crowley High School graduates say they are grateful to Crowley ISD for the good things it has brought them professionally and personally.
“Every love story and relationship can be so unique,” Pattison said. “I would always think my future wife is somewhere out there … If you had asked me before, I never would have guessed that it was someone I already met, and let alone 15 years ago … Always be open wherever your relationship or love might come from.”