Even people who’ve never set foot in Stadium High School have strong emotional ties to it.
Andrea Harrington’s college roommate once watched “10 Things I Hate About You,” the 1999 movie with scenes filmed in Tacoma.
“Don’t watch it, it makes my heart hurt,” Harrington recalled telling her roommate.
It did so because Heath Ledger’s long hair and heavy Australian accent in the movie reminded her of a man she dated before he moved back to India.
An Indian of British descent, Luke Davidson came to Pullman for Bible school. She was attending the University of Idaho. They met at church.
After his year of study, he returned to India and they remained friends. Four and a half years later, he was back in the States, and they were back together.
Harrington could tell a marriage proposal was imminent, but she had no idea when.
Davidson was talking with a friend from Pullman who had moved back to her hometown, Tacoma. They were brainstorming proposals. He wanted to do something outrageous, like sing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” in front of a marching band – just like in the movie.
“I said, ‘you know where that happened? Here in Tacoma,’ ” the friend, Carrie Case, said. “He had no clue that it was actually here.”
They made secret preparations, with a lot of help from the school and alumni. Timing was tricky because of the renovation.
In May, the couple came to visit Case and her husband in Tacoma. The girls went out for a day of shopping. Case mentioned the movie and offered to drive by the school on the way to meet up with the guys.
“Oh, my gosh, there’s a band there, just like in the movie,” Harrington recalls saying as they approached the bowl. The Stadium High School marching band was on the rim. Because of construction liability they couldn’t go in the bowl, but they could certainly still be heard.
There was her love, wearing a suit in the bleachers, singing Frankie Valli’s hit.
The 25-year-olds plan to wed later this year and live in Idaho.