Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Meant to Be: They Married Their High School Sweethearts

Two Pittsburgh couples share how they faced life’s challenges alongside their high school sweethearts, and how growing up with each other really can strengthen a relationship.



A Love Story 22 Years in the Making


Photos by Kristi Telnov Photography

 

When Rebecca Maddas and Joshua Velicevich were set up on a triple blind date 22 years ago, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight.

The two attended Uniontown Area School District and Rebecca, who was a freshman at the time, says that she and then-senior Josh barely spoke that evening, so she was surprised that he asked her out again. After the initial awkwardness wore off, the two began to talk more often, and after several more dates, Josh asked Rebecca to go to his senior prom with him. They became a couple, and decided to stay together as Josh went off to Oberlin College in Ohio.

The couple went long distance in a time before social media and cell phones made communication easy. The next few years of their relationship were filled with letters, care packages, and phone calls made from landline phones. Any time that the couple could spend together was cherished, and most of it was spent in the mountains during summer breaks.
 



 

At the end of Rebecca’s senior year, she and Josh attended her senior prom together. After that, she went on to attend California University of Pennsylvania. Over the course of the next 16 years, Rebecca earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, a certificate in administration and a Ph.D.

Rebecca says that she wanted her wedding to wait while she pursued her education, plus she was also working full time, first as a teacher and then as a principal. After she earned her doctorate, life settled down for her, and then she felt it was a more opportune time to start thinking about the wedding.

“Josh was very patient during that time,” Rebecca says.
 


 

On New Year’s Eve, Josh popped the question as the ball dropped. Twenty years after their first meeting turned into 21, and on May 20, 2017, the couple was married at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Uniontown.

Rebecca and Josh’s relationship was embodied with a Gospel reading at their wedding from John 15: 9-12, which is called “Remain in my Love.” Despite the challenges that the couple faced, they remained in each other’s love.

“In 22 years, you have ups and downs,” Rebecca says. “You change and grow, and we were fortunate enough to make it work.”
 


 

From Classmates to Soulmates


Photos by Leeann Marie Wedding Photographers

 

Rachel Exley and Dominic Dyer didn’t have chemistry when they met, but they did have biology — that is, they met in biology class in their sophomore year at North Allegheny High School.

Rachel says that Dominic’s outgoing personality made her like him first, and she actively pursued him shortly after their meeting. Dominic was nice to everyone, Rachel says, so it was easy for the two to become friends. Eventually, the two began spending more time together, and after a few months of unofficially being together, Rachel and Dominic made their relationship official in July of 2010.

During the first part of their relationship, when they were both 15, the couple’s parents and older siblings drove them to and from dates. Rachel says that the driving situation allowed for the couple to get close with each other’s families very quickly.

After graduation, Rachel went to Kent State University, while Dominic spent two years at the Community College of Allegheny County then two years at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“Being in a long distance relationship was definitely not easy, but we saw it as a temporary situation that would be worth it in the end,” Rachel says.
 



 

One Halloween weekend when Rachel and Dominic were both home from college, Dominic proposed at SOBA in Shadyside. Rachel says that going back to school after that weekend was more difficult, but the idea of getting married to her best friend got her through.

Dominic graduated a year before Rachel, who spent five years at Kent State. Their wedding date was set to be three weeks after her graduation, and between classes, Dominic’s new full time job, and planning the wedding, the last year before their marriage became very busy. They felt it was worth it, though, when the couple married on June 3, 2017 at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall.
 



 

Rachel says that growing up with Dominic, and now being married to him, is her favorite thing in the world. The couple has been together for nearly eight years.

“It's cool that I went to my high school prom with the man I'm now married to, and I love that we graduated together and were able to share those years with each other,” Rachel says. “These memories are something I'll cherish forever.”
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

‘Ring’-ing in the Holiday Season with Festive Proposals

Twinkling lights wrapped around tree trunks and draped across windows weren’t the only things glittering during the holidays for these couples.

The 400-Word Review: Aquaman

DC's latest superhero flick is ridiculous and over-the-top, but it just barely comes together.

Cuteness Overload: Newborns Given Their First Ugly Sweater

In reality, the Christmas sweaters were far from ugly on these adorable babies.

The 400-Word Review: Mary Poppins Returns

The belated Disney sequel is a waste of a practically perfect character, even in its winning moments.

Will the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Bring Home Another Grammy?

The 2018 winners are up again for three potential wins in the 2019 awards.

Adda Coffee and Tea Expands to a Second Location

The coffee house brings its international focus and welcoming atmosphere to the North Side.

Do You Know Uber's Top 10 Pittsburgh Destinations in 2018?

The rideshare company collects data on just about every aspect of the rider experience, including the most frequently visited locations.

Steelers’ Finishing Stretch Smells Like a Tomlin Referendum

In a season that remarkably could still go either way as Christmas approaches, we’re about to find out if Mike Tomlin still has the coaching chops that have allowed him to succeed at such a high level for so long.

The 400-Word Review: The Favourite

The quirky period drama starring Emma Stone is one of the year's best films.

My Favorite Room with Heather Abraham

Each issue, HOME goes inside the room of one of our favorite Pittsburghers.

Look Inside a Home That's a True Gateway to Pittsburgh

After 50 years away, Dick and Vicki Mallary returned to Pittsburgh and spent years painstakingly remodeling a condo in the heart of Downtown.

This Old Pittsburgh House: A Ghost in the Library

It's said that the mischievous spirit of Amanda Bayne Balph still haunts the red brick Victorian home in Bellevue.

“Trocking” Along: Living the Art-Filled Life in Pittsburgh

Patricia Sheahan’s home in the Brewhouse Art Lofts on the South side doubles as a gallery space showcasing her collection of art, antique finds and roadside treasures.

Down to Earth is the Hottest Trend at High Point Market

Get the scoop on the furnishing and decor trends to come out of the influential High Point Market trade show, including a return to natural materials.

Winter 2019: Things We Love

Here are the local gems worth obsessing over.