In July, science teachers Aleitha Burns and Cade Grunst did an 11-mile hike through the Haleakala crater on Maui. Grunst's proposal during Spring Break was also in a crater.

Science teachers discover the right chemistry

After dating for about a year, science teachers Aleitha Burns and Cade Grunst are engaged and planning to get married in the summer of 2016.

Burns met Grunst on the day of the middle-school Renaissance Faire, in March of 2012. He came as a substitute for her sixth-grade class because she had so many duties with her seventh-grade class on that day.

Burns said Grunst impressed her right from the beginning.

“He was very curious and energetic about Country Day and teaching in general, and he asked me a lot of questions about working here,” Burns said.

“I was really busy throughout Renaissance day, but because he was curious and energetic, I talked to him during my breaks. He was just too nice.”

Grunst’s first impression of Burns was similar.

“The day went great. At one point during the day I was in the room during the break and (Burns) came in, and I asked her what it’s like to be a middle-school teacher. Even though she had no time, she spoke to me for like 15 minutes.”

Grunst was mostly focusing on what Burns was saying about the school, but he was also thinking about her.

“Ninety percent of me was wanting to know about the school, but 10 percent of me was thinking she was cute,” Grunst said.

In the fall of 2012, Grunst was hired to teach eighth-grade earth science and algebra.

Grunst first found that he liked Burns after spending time with her after school hours.

“I kind of had a crush on her for a while,” Grunst said. “We would hang out after school on Fridays.”

A few months after hanging out, Grunst invited Burns to hike through some semi-abandoned train tunnels in Donner Pass, Tahoe. Grunst brought his friend and Burns brought her sister.

“There were all these icicles hanging from the ceiling, and we would smash them against the wall and watch them explode,” Grunst said. “It was just fun.”

“One of the reasons I teach middle schoolers is because they’re so fun. Ms. Burns is the same way.”

For their first formal date, in May 2014, Burns and Grunst went to a sushi restaurant in Davis. They dressed up and  afterwards strolled around the park and lay on the ground and looked at the stars.

Burns and Grunst’s first date was weird for both of them because they’re not used to dressing up.

“We are more comfortable jumping off a cliff into the water,” Burns said. “Strange would be us staying inside for a long time.”

But most of their dates aren’t that traditional. The first time that Burns told Grunst that she loved him was when they went to Hawaii last summer.

“We were going to go snorkeling for the day, and I was putting sunscreen on his back and I wrote ‘I love you’ on his back,” Burns said.

Burns was a little suspicious that past students suspected that they were together.

“I think students knew about us liking each other before we did,” Burns said. “I think we were in denial then. We thought we shouldn’t date because we’re co-workers.”

Burns was ready this year to tell the sixth-graders that she and Grunst had been dating.

“This year the sixth-graders started asking me who I was dating,” Burns said. “They turned into investigators, and I’m just not a good liar and eventually I told them. So the sixth-graders were the first to know.”

Freshman Carlos Nuñez said he suspected that something was going on between the two.

“I would always see them eating lunch together,” Nuñez said.

Grunst proposed to Burns over Spring Break, when they were in Death Valley National Park.

“We hiked into a volcano crater and he carried his ukulele and sang a song that he wrote, and the chorus of the song was a proposal,” Burns said.

“He gave me his great-grandfather’s rings and I said yes. And then we enjoyed the rest of Spring Break in love and engaged.”

Eighth-grader Chardonnay Needler said that the two teachers are the perfect couple.

“I shipped them,” Needler said, referring to the practice of endorsing a romantic relationship between two people.

“I think it’s really cute, and I’m excited for when they get married. They’re a good couple.”

Some hobbies that they both enjoy are traveling, snorkeling and hiking. But in the future they’re each going to try new things that the other enjoys.

“He wants to take up roller skating, so I anticipate that we’ll be roller skating together,” Burns said. “I’ll take up scuba diving because that’s something he loves.”

Freshman Sonja Hansen is excited about the engagement.

“I love it so much,” Hansen said. “I think it’s the cutest thing ever.”

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