Lauren Guffey Photography
Jason Duaine Hahn
November 15, 2017 12:27 PM

A class of adorable preschoolers helped surprise their teacher with a marriage proposal, complete with a special message just for her.

Sara Trigero, a teacher at the Child and Family Research Center at the University of Nevada-Reno, had just walked out of a performance review with her boss on November 3 when she noticed her class of toddlers had suddenly assembled in the school’s quad. But they weren’t alone—along with them was Trigero’s boyfriend, Dallin Knecht, who had orchestrated the gathering to “pop the question” with his sweetheart’s favorite kids around. But Trigero says she nearly walked past them until she noticed them holding a humongous sign!

“I did a double-take when I saw Dallin standing there,” Trigero, 27, tells PEOPLE. “Then I actually read the sign saying, ‘Sara say yes,’ and immediately started tearing up as I walked toward him and my students!”

Lauren Guffey Photography

Better yet, the performance review Trigero had just left was actually just a ruse planned by Knecht to buy him enough time to set everything up.

“I wasn’t nervous about my performance review at all, I did think it was a little fishy when my boss didn’t address anything about my actual performance for the whole meeting and just chit-chatted and gave me a book,” she continues. “I thought it was odd, but when she said the meeting was over I didn’t protest and left—only to be completely surprised by what I found outside the meeting!”

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Trigero’s co-teacher worked with Knecht for weeks to get everything together, and even told Trigero that a photographer, Lauren Guffey, would be there that day to take “teacher photos,” just to make sure she was wearing an outfit she would approve of for this unexpected, life-changing moment.

Lauren Guffey Photography
Lauren Guffey Photography

While Trigero was still taking in the surprise, Knecht walked up and gave her a hug, and then knelt down and told her how much she meant to him.

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“Dallin got on one knee he told me that after our first date he knew I was going to be the girl he married,” she says, adding that Knecht then told her he had to get some help from her kiddos before he could ask her something special. “He motioned to my students, and they all said in unison, ‘Sara, say yes!’ And then he asked, ‘Will you marry me?’ and I obviously I said yes!”

Lauren Guffey Photography

The couple has been together for two-and-half years after meeting as employees at Brew Brothers, a restaurant located in the Eldorado Hotel Casino in Reno, Nevada. Trigero says that they are now going to start planning their wedding, aiming to have the ceremony in summer 2019.

“I love my students so much, every day I’m excited to see them and spend time with them,” Trigero says. “Seeing them there with the love of my life was so special!”

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