A Love that Lasts: Alex Zasso and Jessica Ang

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A Love that Lasts: Alex Zasso and Jessica Ang

Niles West alumni Alex Zasso and Jessica Ang have been together since high school and plan to get married this July.

Niles West alumni Alex Zasso and Jessica Ang have been together since high school and plan to get married this July.

Niles West alumni Alex Zasso and Jessica Ang have been together since high school and plan to get married this July.

Niles West alumni Alex Zasso and Jessica Ang have been together since high school and plan to get married this July.

By Abigail Davis, Staff Writer

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It’s hard to imagine finding the love of your life when you are 14 years old and just starting your adolescent years, which are typically years spent finding yourself. However, Niles West alumni Jessica Ang and Alex Zasso wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. From the start, the couple knew they had something special, and even through thick and thin, they always found their way back to each other. They are starting the next chapter of their lives together by getting married this July.

The beginning of their relationship seemed like a typical high school infatuation, considering it began at such a young age.

“From my perspective, I think when we were teenagers, our relationship was more focused on an admiration of one another. At least for me, I have always admired Alex’s intelligence and his love for long-distance running. We were both on the cross country team at West,” Ang said. “He also has a really great smile. I just really enjoyed spending time with him, whether it was the beginning of the day before class started, in the hall, or working on a project together. I liked surrounding myself with his presence and always felt like if I had a question, he had an answer. He is so smart, and I love learning from him.”

Zasso still remembers the charming way Ang introduced herself to him during their freshmen English class.  

“We met on the first day of school in Ms. Jackson’s English class. It was seventh or eighth period, and she was sitting in front of me. Before the bell rang, she turned to me and said, ‘Hi, we’ve been in three classes today. Your name is Alex, what’s my name?’. I was so taken aback that I didn’t say anything, even though I was pretty sure it was Jessica,” Zasso said.

Although neither of them knew they were meant to be right from the start, time helped them realize they had something special and irreplaceable.

“I think in the beginning we both knew we liked each other a lot, but maybe not to the point where we knew for sure. We were both realistic about the growth of our relationship, especially when it came to going to college at two different places. I love knowing that I had Alex as a friend and a boyfriend during high school and experienced all those awkward moments of a relationship. I think experiencing those types of moments really brought us closer, and it is something we can look back on and joke about,” Ang said. “It was a couple years after college where we realized we had something special, and I wanted to experience even more awkward moments in adulthood with Alex. We just have fun together.”

Zasso loves how he is always learning new things about Ang, and he appreciates even the little details about her.

“We’ve known each other for a long time; I like to think we’ve grown to know each other even better than we did then. That being said, there’s always something new to learn. She definitely can still surprise me,” Zasso said. “Jessica is the most considerate person I know. In every interaction, she is always thinking about how what she is doing is affecting others’ happiness. Where someone else might take the easy way out, she goes the extra mile to put the other person first.”

Although they did their best to stay together throughout college, it became a difficult task. However, they eventually found a way to make their relationship work.

“We decided to continue our relationship in college and even ran against each other at [cross-country] meets. Even though our colleges weren’t that far away, it was pretty difficult to maintain our relationship. We actually broke up in the latter half of junior year and didn’t get back together until after college. I was really focused on my studies and not being able to spend time with Alex took a toll. Funny enough, even though we broke up, I didn’t date anyone until we got back together after college. During our time apart, I always had a feeling that we would get back together,” Ang said. “When he finished his year teaching in South Korea, we took a trip with our friends to Europe. We found that ‘spark’ again, and started our relationship shortly after. We have been together ever since.”

Although he was aware of the possibility of a break-up, Zasso knew they had something special even in high school.

“We thought [we’d stay together] in high school while being aware that the odds were against it. From early on, we not only had a spark but also communicated and compromised with each other very well. I knew that, at the very least, it was a relationship that would last,” Zasso said. “Being long distance is difficult, especially when you are both working hard in school and are involved in extracurriculars. Talking on the phone isn’t the same as seeing each other every day.”

Ang admires Zasso greatly, and she feels ecstatic to spend the rest of her life with him. She can’t wait to finally reach the next step in their relationship.

“My favorite thing about Alex is his intelligence. He loves to share what he has read, mainly about history. No wonder he became a teacher. His love for knowledge motivates me to go out and take time to learn something new,” Ang said. “I feel like being with Alex, I am never bored. I have someone to always learn from and complement my strengths and weaknesses to ultimately be my best self. I am looking forward to spending every day with Alex and experiencing all the milestones in life together. I love the idea of having a life partner, someone you can talk to, trust, and work through any of life’s challenges with.”

Although the couple wasn’t exactly obvious about their relationship, their freshmen year English teacher Kristen Jackson remembers having them in class together.

“I remember each of them from their freshmen year.  They were both outstanding, hard-working students.  They both liked English class and were good writers,” Jackson said. “I don’t remember them interacting in class in any remarkable way–I mean I’m sure they did, but not in a way that stood out to me as ‘OMG, my students are dating!'”

Although the wedding planning process may be a bit rushed, the couple is finally tying the knot.

“We got engaged on Nov. 13 (a day before my birthday) and are getting married in July. I’ve been told the engagement period is on the shorter side, but I think it just makes the process all that more exciting. I do have to say that even though we are looking at all the vendors and trying to figure out details, we mostly care about marrying each other,” Ang said. “We have been together for a long time, and we just can’t wait to cement the fact that we love each other and want to continue life as a team.”