She said yes!
Staff, students and guests were treated to a surprise marriage proposal at the Design and Visual Arts Annual Scholarship Show Award Ceremony at Georgian College’s Barrie Campus on April 28.
XuYang (Reno) Cong got down on one knee and proposed to YuWei (Serena) Yang, his girlfriend of seven years, with a diamond that he personally cut by hand.
“Our goldsmithing students go to Sudbury every year to learn about diamonds,” says Andrea Wenckebach, Co-ordinator of the Goldsmithing and Silversmithing graduate certificate program. “Through a partnership with Crossworks Manufacturing, they spend a week learning about diamond mining and enjoying presentations from DeBeers and other key people in the industry. This year they had a presentation from the Chief Gemologist of Ontario.”
The students also have the privilege of cutting their own Ontario-mined diamonds.
“Unfortunately, they don’t get to bring them home right away, since they need to be polished in Sudbury,” says Andrea.
There was a delay this year and Reno patiently waited for his diamond. It didn’t arrive until the day of the ceremony.
Initially he wasn’t going to propose at the ceremony because he wanted to present Serena with a finished ring. But after discussing the issue with his mother, who was visiting from China, he reconsidered and solicited Andrea’s help in facilitating the romantic gesture.
“Reno won the top award – best in show – winning seven awards, so he was the last to be presented with an award,” says Andrea.
She discreetly handed him the diamond in a padded box and he asked if it was okay for Serena to come down for a picture. Then, he asked her to marry him.
Serena was totally surprised. “I never thought he would propose in front of so many people,” she says.
“She was so excited about saying yes,” says Reno. “She didn’t even care about what I was holding during the proposal.”
The young couple are both international students from China. No wedding date has been decided yet. They plan to stay in Canada, but will be heading back to China for a traditional wedding.