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Wedding A Learning Experience Teacher Turns Marriage Into Project For Her Class

The teacher’s wedding became a class project for 28 pupils at Martha Lake Elementary School.

To prepare for their roles as bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring bearers and flower girls, the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders in Suellen Adams’ room spent a month studying wedding traditions from around the world.

The festivities Friday were enlivened by Japanese paper cranes, Scottish-style bagpipers, a Cinco de Mayo pinata and candy from around the world.

Adams and Douglas Passey, 51, a software engineer, recited their vows before about 70 people in the school library.

The wedding, the third for both, also was shown live on every classroom television in the school in this suburb north of Seattle.

During the ceremony, each student stood and demonstrated a wedding tradition.

When he was told about a Jewish rite in which the groom breaks a glass with his foot - a tradition holding that the longer it takes to glue the pieces back together, the longer the marriage will last - Passey stomped five times with vigor.

“I was the one who suggested we get married in the classroom since they’re so close to her,” Passey said.

“I’m a teacher. How could I resist using my kids?” Adams said afterward.

“It’s just like a teacher to turn it into a lesson. They learned values and traditions.”

The class was hardly meeting Passey for the first time. He proposed to Adams during a school play, “The Princess and the Bowling Ball,” playing the prince and presenting her with a ring on stage.

Her pupils said they had fun but still had to work hard on their studies.

“Everyone in other classrooms were saying we were getting out of class (work) to decorate,” said Andrew Lyda, 11, “but we had to write two reports and were even late to recess.”

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