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RIGHT TIME RIGHT PLACE: 8th-grade crush evolves into high school romance

by Kimberly Dishongh | March 12, 2023 at 3:12 a.m.
Jordan and Zachary Hall have two sons, 4-year-old Rhett Sebastian — so named because Zachary first glimpsed Jordan at Sebastian Lake — and 15-month-old Beau. Zachary’s job as a professional storm chaser sometimes leads to unpredictable schedules during severe weather outbreaks. “He’s gone 75% of the time in the spring but we get through it because he is constantly communicating when he’s going to be home and when he’s not going to be home,” Jordan says. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

Zachary Hall and Jordan Christensen's romance didn't survive eighth grade. But it thrived in high school and beyond.

"I guess if you want to call it boyfriend and girlfriend in eighth grade, that's what we were," Zachary says. "But Jordan actually dumped me in eighth grade."

She doesn't remember why.

"We were just little eighth-graders," she says. "It was only like two weeks."

They stayed friends, though, chatting at basketball games and around school.

"Hackett is a very small school, so everyone knows each other," Zachary says. "It never went away. I had always kind of had a crush on her."

Zachary remembers the first time he saw Jordan. She was out on a boat in Sebastian Lake with her family. He and his family had just moved to Hackett then, and his aunt pointed her out to him.

"She said, 'That's Jordan. She's a cheerleader at Hackett.' I will never forget that," he says.

That was just after he finished seventh grade. He didn't see her again until he went to study hall on the first day of eighth grade.

"The first class of the first day, we had class together," he says.

Not long after they started attending Hackett High School, Zachary and Jordan started spending more time together.

"I was doing very bad in a history class, admittedly, and she took it upon herself to help me study for that class," he says. "We were in 10th grade at the time and I started going to her house to study -- strictly to study at that time because she was helping me pass that class."

Jordan says he probably didn't actually need tutoring

"It's funny because I tell him all the time that he is literally one of the smartest people I know, but in high school he just didn't care," Jordan says. "He was totally failing that class for no reason. So he says that I helped him study but I think I really just helped him do his homework and pay attention."

Zachary, of course, still harbored a crush on her, and he was ecstatic to find that they both liked spending time together.

They started tagging along with their parents for outings sometimes, when they were 15 and still too young to drive on their own. There were restaurant outings, movies and other fun times with their familial chaperones.

Jordan was a picky eater, and Zachary took note of the precise way she ordered her meals back then.

"I remember this as clear as day," he says. "There was a sandwich on the menu called something like the 'ultimate chicken sandwich' and she ordered it, but she said, 'I want the ultimate chicken sandwich but I want it without the ultimate. I just want the chicken.' My parents thought it was hilarious."

They went fishing together at a pond in the area, and in the summer after Zachary turned 16, they went to the Sebastian County Fair together.

"I think that was the first time we went out together, just us two -- no parents -- in my truck," he says.

Jordan and Zachary went to the junior and senior proms together and enjoyed their high school sweetheart status.

After graduation in 2013, they both went to local colleges.

"We both lived at home, so we didn't have to do the long-distance relationship thing," he says.

Zachary's brother played football for Hackett High School, and Zachary and Jordan were usually in the stands cheering him on. They were at his game in October 2016, but Zachary's mind was elsewhere.

"I proposed to her there, just after the game," he says. "I had planned it out for a while. I brought the ring. And she had no idea. I mean, she was shocked."

He was surprised, too, that no one had tipped her off. Their friends and family had gathered on the campus where his and Jordan's relationship had begun and they were waiting when the two of them walked up after the game.

"It was a typical Friday night for us," says Jordan, who agrees she was completely unsuspecting. "I was in nursing school and wasn't thinking about this at all."

She realized his mother was taking pictures of her and Zachary as they approached the crowd, but she still didn't think anything was afoot.

"I just remember thinking, 'What are all those people doing?'" she says.

She and Zachary made their way through the group and she saw a big sign that said, "Jordan, will you marry me?"

"It did not dawn on me at first that it was me," she says with a laugh. "Then he proposed. It was kind of wild."

They exchanged their vows on April 8, 2017, at the Loft at Stone Oak in Greenwood.

"It was a beautiful wedding," he says. "We were young, for sure, but it was awesome."

Jordan is a nurse and Zachary is a professional storm chaser. They live in Greenwood with their two sons, Beau Decker, 15 months, and 4-year-old Rhett -- whose middle name is Sebastian, in honor of the lake where Zachary first saw Jordan.

"You were really good-looking," he tells her.

If you have an interesting how-we-met story or if you know someone who does, please call (501) 425-7228 or email:

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The first time I saw my future spouse:

She says: "He had long, curly hair. I loved his hair."

He says: "My aunt told me who she was."

On our wedding day:

She says: "We had to completely laugh through our first dance because it was the wrong song version that was played. Nobody knew but us."

He says: "I remember vividly when I got to see her in her dress for the first time."

My advice for a long happy marriage:

She says: "We try to stay calm and communicate with each other when we're bickering because we bicker a lot. And I think it's important to pick your battles."

He says: "Communicate effectively because if you don't it could lead to some major problems in your marriage."


  photo  Jordan Christensen and Zachary Hall were married on April 8, 2017, at the Loft at Stone Oak in Greenwood. Zachary proposed on the grounds of the school where it all began. “I wanted it to be a place where we could have both of our families together and where it wasn’t going to be super suspicious so I could surprise Jordan,” Zachary says. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Rachel Rodemann)

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