Couple meets at Brock, gets married and graduates hand-in-hand

A Brock University love story that started with a first-year study group continued Tuesday with a married couple holding hands and celebrating as they walked across the Convocation stage.

Brandon and Cherise Dear, who met as undergrads in the Faculty of Education and got married last July as master’s students, will now start their careers together as teachers in Waterloo.

“I think it’s just so special to be able to graduate with my wife and hold her hand as we complete this eight-year journey together,” said Brandon, who is originally from Hamilton.

Their relationship began back in their first year at Brock, when the two Concurrent Education students were in a Child and Youth Studies class together.

“We had a mutual friend and he invited us both to a study group for the first exam,” Brandon said.

Six months later the two started dating. Then came their undergrad convocation, then an engagement, and finally wedding bells in July 2016.

Along the way, the two helped each other with classes and supported one another as they dealt with the stresses of trying to become educators.

“He was in teachers college first and so I helped him, and then he helped me when I was in teachers college. It’s nice to have someone who understands what you’re going through,” said Cherise, who was born and raised in St. Catharines.

The newlyweds spent their first year of marriage wrapping up their respective master’s.

“We motivated each other to do the work. Seeing him work made me want to it,” Cherise said.

All that hard work paid off. In May, Cherise started working for the Catholic school board in Waterloo while Brandon got a job with Waterloo’s public board. They moved to their new home last week.

As for Convocation day, it took some work to make the magical moment of being hooded side-by-side happen.

“We pushed to get my name change finalized so that we could walk up together,” said Cherise.

Even at that, an odd number of graduates before them on the list of Master’s of Education students meant they would be paired up with strangers.

“We had to switch so we could go together,” said Brandon. “We asked the girl in front of us to go ahead.”

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