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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

1980s Love Story at WIS

WIS students working during class in a Mansion classroom. The picture was taken in 1983 and is found on the WIS website.
WIS students working during class in a Mansion classroom. The picture was taken in 1983 and is found on the WIS website.

53 years ago, on January 19th, 1966, Dorothy B. Goodman led her first class in the basement of her home in Washington, DC. This class was what initially started the Washington International School, and the first class simply consisted of three students.

Over the years WIS grew both in size and student population allowing people to meet, in some cases their future spouses. 

Robert Ireland, enrolled at WIS in 1971, and Astrid Dyssegaard, enrolled in 1980 are both WIS alumni and both graduated in 1984.

The Tregaron Mansion in 1972. This was the first year that the mansion was used for classes, as Dorothy B. Goodman’s home was not big enough to support the growing number of WIS students. Picture found on the WIS website.

Ireland had attended WIS since 1971 and he knew his way around well, while Dyssegaard was the “new kid” when she started attending in 1980 .

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The first few days of 9th grade in 1980 Dyssegaard was having trouble with opening her locker which allowed the two to meet for the first time, beginning a relationship that lasted all the way until years after their highschool graduation.

Ireland frequently tried to find opportunities to help or talk to Dyssegaard during school for them to get closer.

 “One of our first interactions was congratulating each other on both getting A’s on our first history tests,” Ireland said. They also socialized outside of school, as they remember going to the Georgetown theater all together with their friends. 

Seeing as they did not attend any sports or extracurriculars together, classes were the main time they spent together. They passed notes to each other during class so the teachers would not notice.

“We had scheduled study hall and library time together because we didn’t have much other time during or after school together,” Dyssegaard said.

Up until Senior year, Ireland and Dyssegaard were very close, yet they weren’t dating. They split ways when they left for college.

“I went to university in New Jersey, and Astrid [Dyssegaard] flew 4000 miles away to attend the University of Copenhagen,” Ireland said

After having moved to Denmark in the summer of 1984, Dyssegaard was visited by Ireland for a short trip before beginning university.

“In the summer of 1984, I flew over to see Astrid for 10 days at her house in Copenhagen before starting university,” Ireland said.

After Ireland left Denmark, many years went by where Dyssegaard and Ireland did not connect or see each other.

“We grew apart, became adults, and lost touch during the 17 years after graduating high school,” Dyssegaard said.

After the many years of not seeing each other, Ireland thought about Dyssegaard and decided to reach out to her.

“In 2001, I was going to be vacationing somewhere in Scandinavia, so I decided to look up Astrid to see if I could reconnect with her,” Ireland said.

After reconnecting, spending a lot of time together, and starting to date in September of 2001. While Ireland had come to Copenhagen to visit Dyssegaard they talked about finding a way to live in the same country, since they had been in different countries for many years. Ireland then brought up marriage and asked Dyssegaard if she wanted to marry him, to which she said yes.

“We got married on a very beautiful day in Denmark, on May 22nd, 2003,” said Ireland.

Dyssegaard and Ireland got married at the second oldest church in Copenhagen, called the ‘Sankt Stefans Kirke’.

About 2 years after their marriage, in 2005, their first and only child, Olivia Ireland, was born.

“[When attending WIS] we were randomly in the same place at the same time; we came from different countries and cultures, and after reconnecting after around 20 years, there was still a great connection between us,” Dyssegaard said.

Despite coming from countries across the ocean from each other, and separating for years after high school with no contact, when they met again, it was if they had never left.

“My favorite part about coming to school everyday was seeing my future wife!” Ireland said retrospectively.

By Olivia Ireland

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