Strong Minds. Kind Hearts.

Alumni Love Stories

Did you know that there are nearly 60 FA Alumni couples?
We've highlighted a few "how we met" stories below.
Check back for more updates!

Click here to submit a wedding or engagement announcement of your own.

Danielle Farrell O'Kane '06 and Brendan O'Kane '03

"Brendan and I did not know each other at Friends Academy. Or rather, I should say he did not know me. Brendan was a senior and a captain of the football and lacrosse teams when I was an unknown student entering as a freshman. As if the odds were not already stacked against me, it should be noted that I wore braces upon my arrival at Friends Academy, and throughout most of my tenure.

We first crossed paths in September 2002, when Brendan led a group discussion for my advisory, which was part of an initiative led by TASQUE. I remember being impressed by his patience with a group ninth grade students—but that was as far as our exchange went. Nearly two years later, in summer 2004, we both worked at Friends Academy Summer Camp, however, we worked in different departments and never spoke. It wasn't until many years later, in June 2011 at the Friends Academy NYC Reunion, that a connection was made. We both attended the event, as we try to do annually, and found ourselves in brief conversation. But it was not until the after party, at Bryant Park Bar, that sparks began to fly. Later that evening, we shared a cab downtown (after learning we were neighbors), which led to a stroll through Tribeca to continue the conversation. Much to my chagrin, there was no immediate follow-up. Luckily, I attended the Liberty Bell fireworks a few weeks later with Friends Academy classmate Christen Picoli Cohen ’06, which led to my last accidental encounter with Brendan. One month later, in August 2011, we went on our first date and have been together since. In homage to our first true encounter, Brendan proposed in a sectioned-off area of Bryant Park in November 2014. After returning to New York from Los Angeles, where Brendan was studying for his MBA at UCLA Anderson, we were married in June 2016. We now live and work in Manhattan – and both of our companies coincidentally have office spaces across from Bryant Park. "


Sarah Holland Roman '02 and Elias Roman '02

"Elias and I met at Buckley in the sixth grade and started dating in the eighth grade. We both visited Friends Academy and loved it, so we followed each other there for high school. We were in the same advisory group in 9th grade and still liked each other after four days of not showering on our ninth grade camping trip (now that's true love!). We both looked forward to our free "D block" together that year where we would spend time together in the old cafeteria that was connected to the main building where our classes where held. In tenth grade, I joined the cheerleading squad, and in eleventh grade, Elias joined too becoming the first male to ever join the squad. We even did cheerleading stunts together. After Friends Academy, he ended up at Brown University in Providence and I ended up at Boston College. We would take the bus to visit each other at least every other weekend. After college, we got married in 2009 and moved to Long Island City. Our son, Ethan, was born in 2013 and I am due in March with our second son! It continues to be very meaningful to us that we both have had the background of a wonderful education at Friend's Academy. In addition, because of the wonderful community at Friends, we have built life-long friendships with a number of our classmates. Friends Academy has helped shape our shared values which we hope to pass onto our children."



Remsen Weir Dooley '02 and Tim Dooley '02

"Tim and I started dating senior year at Friends Academy. We went to separate colleges and decided to take a break from dating while entering college. We ended up staying together through college and once we graduated we lived together in New York City. We got married after 9 years of dating, moved to Long Island to help run Youngs Farm and now have 3 year old identical twin daughters and a 1 and a half year old son. We feel blessed to have met at Friends Academy and are looking forward to sending our children there one day."

Whitney Wortman ‘03 and William Gambling ‘03

Whitney and Will met their freshman year of high school at Friends Academy in the fall of 1999. Will had been at Friends Academy since Pre-K, and Whitney was an incoming freshman from Buckley. Throughout high school Whitney and Will had the same group of friends and were always close, but never of the romantic sort. After graduation they parted ways, Whitney attending the University of Miami and Will heading off to Vanderbilt University. The two stayed in touch throughout the college years as friends do, seeing each other in the summers and over other college breaks when the old gang got back together.

It wasn’t until after college that Whitney and Will both found themselves living in New York City where they rekindled their friendship; seeing each other on most weekends, out and about. This friendship grew stronger over the next few years in Manhattan, until the friendship paradigm turned upside down leaving Whitney and Will in a relationship. It is a funny thing to start dating someone you have known since you were 14 years old; the typical get-to-know-you phase gets bypassed as you realize you know this person on a deeper level than any first date question could ever reveal.

Courtship progressed to an apartment, vacations, and many memories together. 16 years after their first encounter in the hallways of Friends Academy, Whitney said “I do”. Whitney and Will were wed on October 17, 2015 amongst family and friends with several Friends Academy alum in attendance: Adam Giardina ‘03, Kristen Campbell Murphy ‘03, Kate Donoghue Duggan ‘03, John Gambling ‘69, Andrew Gambling ‘99, Bradley Gambling ‘99, Brian Dooley ‘03, Gregg Minutoli ‘03, Andrew Picoli, ‘03, Paul Wagner ‘04, Romola Ratnam ‘03, Denis O’Kane ‘04, Ashley Levine Dooley ‘04, Peter Picoli ‘69, and Garrett Dooley ‘05. The two paid homage to where they met, starting the wedding with a moment of silence and asking guests to sign their Quaker Marriage License as witness to their most special day.


Ashley Levien Dooley '04 and Brian Dooley '03

Brian ’03 and Ashley (formerly Levien) Dooley ’04 met and became friends while attending high school at Friends Academy. They dated throughout college and after graduation they moved into NYC together with their dog Annie. Brian proposed to Ashley in January 2010 with a little help from Annie and they were married at Brian’s parents home in Mill Neck October 1, 2011. Beloved high school teacher, Edward Dugger performed the ceremony that also featured their dogs & Ashley’s horse. They currently live in Upper Brookville with son Declan (3 years) and daughter Rory (1 year) and they have remained close with many of their friends from high school.

Colleen Hughes '98 and Jared Wong '98

Jared started Friends in 7th grade when he first met Colleen, who had been there since 4th grade. Over the next 6 years, they sat 4 feet apart from each other in Latin class, yet never said more than a friendly hello. The only other interaction the two can remember was during their senior year when Colleen, who was a student-manager on the wrestling team, would hit Jared in the back with rolled up towels to signal time was up on his matches. It wasn't until they randomly met up over a Thanksgiving break nearly four years after graduating that they finally spoke to one and other, exchanged emails and became fast friends. Their first date was on December 22 when they went out to dinner and to see the movie Oceans 11. Their second date was Christmas Eve at Colleen's parents house where Jared met Colleen's entire family. They continued their relationship while both of them graduated college and law school. They were married on June 3, 2006 and lived in New York City until they had their first child. They moved out to Long Island and now live in Garden City with their 2 beautiful children, Brady (8) and Bryce (2). None of it would have happened without Friends Academy, which they both miss fondly and feel played such an important role in their lives.


Natalia Porcelli Good ’93 and Adam Good ‘93

Natalia and Adam’s Friends Academy romance began in the fall of 1987 when Natalia first began attending FA in 7th grade. After furtive glances and brief conversations, by the end of the year Natalia and Adam were “girlfriend/boyfriend” for a brief two weeks. Throughout the remainder of their time at FA, while they never officially dated, they were always good friends with each other. In fact, it is hard for them to remember a time when they weren’t friends. Towards the end of senior year, Adam asked Natalia to be his prom date and she of course said yes. That summer after graduation, they spent every waking moment together cherishing the time they had before they would be forced to go their separate ways to attend college. Once that day came and for their first year apart from each other, their relationship only became stronger in spite of the distance between them. One year away from each other was enough, so Adam decided to transfer to a college closer to Natalia. After graduating from college, Natalia and Adam both attended law school in New York City and lived there for 13 years until their son was ready to start kindergarten. They moved back to Long Island in part because they wanted to send their children to FA and couldn’t imagine them going to any other school. For Natalia and Adam, FA will always hold a special place in their hearts. Natalia and Adam’s 15 year wedding anniversary is coming up in August 2017. They have two children who attend FA; Julian is in 6th grade and Landon is in playgroup.


Brie Shapiro Kraska '93 and Todd Kraska '92

It was November of 1990, I didn’t have a winter sport, and my sister Blair’s [Shapiro '92] friend asked if I could cover as wrestling manager for a few days. When that friend made the basketball team, a few days became an entire season. I didn’t know it at the time, but my new role with the team would shape my entire life! Not only did I get out of PE that winter, but I also became good friends with a 132 pound wrestler with whom I would soon fall in love.

Twenty- six years ago on a beautiful day in March, as I sat under the beech tree, which still stands tall in the quad today, Todd Kraska ’92 asked me on our first date. As players ourselves, he thought it would be fun to see a NY Saints lacrosse game. Today, we still throw the ball around, but now it’s with our two beautiful children. Marley (8) is a clever and thoughtful free-spirit, and Luca (7) is an athletic, creative and very loving young boy. We returned to the Friends Academy community 12 years ago when I became a Lower School teacher. I am now the LS Math Specialist and a proud parent of a 3rd and 1st grader here at Friends. Marley and Luca attend First Day School in the same Meeting House that their parents attended as teenagers, and they are receiving a wonderful moral and academic education right where the Kraska family first began.

The love I had for that handsome young wrestler still endures, and Todd and I remain the best of friends. As I told the Meeting House years ago, and it still holds true today….we still love to hold hands!


Susan Witkoff Stein '84 and Peter Stein '79

"I was working as a lawyer in Manhattan and I was 28 years old and had a boyfriend of several months who I knew was not the right person for me for long term. My fellow classmate Kathy White '84 called me to see if I was going to the alumni spring cocktail party. I hesitated and at the last minute decided to go with her. Peter was at the party with some of his siblings and asked someone if they knew who I was. Pete didn't hesitate to come up to me and start a conversation and it was a very nice evening. He called me the following week and I told him I had a boyfriend but that it was not a relationship that I thought would last very long. Peter put in his calendar to call me a few months later which he did being the organized person he is, and when he called I was single and ready to go out with him. We went on our first date to Baraondo italian restaurant and 2 years later we married! We now have two children at Friends, Lizzy '17 and William '20."

Penelope Wylie Mayer '75 and Chris Mayer '75

"Way before the internet and websites like Match.com there was a dating service called People Resources in NYC. Since I was always traveling for work and meeting no one, I thought I'd give this service a whirl. I went to their offices and spoke to a 'dating counselor' about my requirements for the perfect guy and went home to wait for them to propose some candidates. The 'Very Next Day' the phone call came from another member himself! He had seen my photo in the book, recognized me, tracked down my number and called. When he told me who he was, the first thing out of my mouth was "Are you the Friends Academy Chris Mayer?" (Last time I saw this guy was 17 years prior on graduation day). We were not an item while we were at FA, but he did ask me out in 8th grade. We made a date to play tennis... and the rest is history. We were engaged a month and a half after that phone call, married 7 months later and now are the parents of Augusta Mayer '13."