The lives of a young couple, William “Billy” Munker and Paulena Vanna Wermuth were forever changed last Friday, Sept. 16 at Royal Palm Beach High School during the school’s homecoming game halftime festivities.
“I started planning this back in May,” Munker said.
That’s when he found the perfect ring for his bride-to-be, and set the wheels in motion for a surprise proposal to his high school sweetheart.
“I got with her mom, I got with my parents, and that’s how it worked,” he said.
Munker coordinated with his former coach, Eric Patterson, now the athletics director at the school, to orchestrate a surprise proposal.
Munker was the center on the football team, wearing jersey No. 60 from 2006 to 2010, while Wermuth was the captain of the cheerleading team. They met on the football field.
He told Wermuth his jersey was going to be retired, and he was going to receive an award.
“He asked me to walk on the field with him so he would have support, because he was scared,” she said. “And then, the huge thing happened.”
It didn’t take much for Munker to convince Wermuth that he needed the support, he said, explaining that he really is nervous in front of crowds — an irony he is well aware of as a star football player both in high school and in college.
Lori Deutsch, Wermuth’s mother, and Munker’s parents helped orchestrate the event, which completely surprised Wermuth.
Less than two months ago, Deutsch and the Munker family really got to work.
“It was the most amazing thing to be involved in,” Deutsch said.
She reached out to the cheerleading coaches, and was able to get the cheerleaders to dance by while Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” came over the sound system and Munker proposed.
“I couldn’t be happier. She couldn’t have a better man and a better family for all of us,” Deutsch said.
The proposal, complete with a banner, left Wermuth in tears — happy tears, of course, as both of their families came to the sidelines to congratulate the couple.
As they exited the field, the Town-Crier was able to learn more about the high school sweethearts.
“I was completely shocked, and it was the most beautiful proposal ever,” Wermuth said.
Their story began almost a decade ago.
“They met on the field while Paulena was the captain of the cheerleading team and Billy was the star football player. She was cheering, and he was playing football, and he winked at her on the field — and that was all she wrote,” Deutsch said.
After the two graduated, Munker continued on, with a full-ride football scholarship to Tusculum College, where he graduated with an accounting degree in 2015. Wermuth currently attends Florida Atlantic University and is studying elementary education.
They’ve been together fr six-and-a-half years as a couple. Now, they are fiancés, with new adventures in store for them.
“She needs to graduate, and then after that we’ll plan a wedding,” Munker said.
An engagement party was held Saturday, Sept. 17 for the couple.
The romantic mastermind behind the evening, Munker had advice for other couples, especially those meeting in high school.
“Know that even though sometimes it can be puppy love, it does last as long as you want it to,” he said.
“High school love,” Wermuth added.
“We did long-distance for five years, and we made it last. No day was not worth it. Every day was worth it,” Munker said.
“It works if you work it,” Wermuth said.
ABOVE: William “Billy” Munker proposes to Paulena Vanna Wermuth at Royal Palm Beach High School on Friday, Sept. 16.