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Penn State Love Stories: A Photography Class Crush

Most Penn State students definitely wouldn’t label class as their favorite part of the day. For Gary Yannes, it only took the girl sitting across the room to completely change that.

“We met in a photography class…I like to tell everyone I met Kathy in a dark room,” Gary joked.

At the time, the two were attending classes at Penn State Hazleton. Kathy was always an avid student and chose to sit in the front row each day. Gary, on the other hand, enjoyed his perch near the back of the classroom. But he soon realized this tactic wouldn’t help very much when it came to catching her eye, so he decided to come up with his own special plan of action.

“The door would close at the start of class and was locked from entry,” Gary said. “So I frequently showed up a little late just to make her get up and let me in.”

Eventually, Yannes decided to take his in-class move to the next level. However, his bold move didn’t go quite as planned.

“I asked Kathy out but she declined, saying she had to meet her dad because she carpooled with him,” Gary said.

Yet, Gary knew his brave effort couldn’t go to waste. He eventually changed his approach and brought up the idea of joining Kathy and her father for the trip home and just grabbing a casual dinner with her afterwards.

(Photo: Gary Yannes)
(Photo: Gary Yannes)

This time, Kathy couldn’t find a way to shy away from the idea. After three unsuccessful attempts, Gary finally scored a date with the girl he once thought was unattainable.

The two decided to grab a meal at the local Pizza Hut that evening. Despite only ever speaking to each other a few times, it didn’t take long for an unexpected twist to break the ice.

“Kathy started with a salad and when she bit into a cherry tomato, the juice squirted across the table and down my shirt,” Gary said. “We could not stop laughing and from that very moment I knew she was the one for me.” From that moment on, the couple enjoyed chuckling their way from one dinner date to the next.

Eventually, they both graduated from Hazleton (Gary in 1981 and Kathy in 1982) and after dating for more than two years, the couple enjoyed the perfect wedding. 32 years later, the two still never run out of ways to make each other laugh.

About the Author

Claire Fountas

Claire Fountas is the student life editor for Onward State, as well as a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology. She lives in a suburb of Chicago and strongly disagrees with anyone who hates the Cubs or the Blackhawks (so, pretty much anyone at Penn State). You can follow her @ClaireFountas or email her at [email protected]

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