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Worth dancing: Student gets engaged via DeGeneres

Courtesy of Sam Clark

This one is going to be hard to top.


“I told her not to expect anything else more exciting than this each coming Valentine’s Day,” said Sam Clark after proposing to Rachael Carl, his girlfriend of five years, with the help of comedian Ellen DeGeneres and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”


“I think I set the bar a little too high,” said Clark, who is a student studying early childhood education and political science at Columbus State Community College.

Carl, a fourth-year in international studies and French at Ohio State, was sitting in the Ohio Union after class with her sister Rebecca Carl, a second-year in art history. Clark called Rachael, telling her to check “The Ellen Show’s” Twitter page. There, Rachael found a tweet.


“This is big. I’m surprising a follower w/ huge news. Watch this. That means you, Rachael Carl in Grove City, OH,” the tweet read.


A link that followed the tweet led Rachael to a personal video message from DeGeneres.


“(Sam) says, ‘Will you marry me?'” DeGeneres said in the video. “How ‘bout that? Marry Sam. Sam wants to marry you and he wants you to marry him. You’ll be married to each other. I like it, being married. You’ll like it — get married.”


Clark, who remained in hiding for the video’s duration, then proposed to Rachael.


“I can’t stop shaking,” Rachael said to Clark in the video. “Are you being for real right now?”


Rebecca filmed Clark and Rachael, who answered Clark’s proposal with a “Hell yeah.”


“(Sam) literally handed me the camera the night before and said, ‘Here’s the plan,'” Rebecca said. “I was shocked.”


Rebecca filmed her sister’s reaction with a “Flip” video camera “The Ellen Show” provided.


“I told (Rachael) I had a project for my communication class and I was supposed to film natural habits,” she said.

Rachael said she thought the project sounded plausible.


“(Rebecca’s) a pretty good liar, apparently,” Rachael said.


Clark got DeGeneres’ help with the proposal after a visit to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” website.


“I’m a huge fan of her show and I was just messing around on her website, watching her videos and reading her blogs and stuff,” Clark said. “I came across something that said, ‘Do you want Ellen to help you with the perfect proposal?'”


Clark, who said he already had Rachael’s ring, decided to give it a try and submitted an e-mail explaining why he should be picked.


“I just got on their website and was like, ‘Why not try?'” Clark said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. If I don’t get picked, I don’t get picked.”  


Clark said he was contacted by the show about a month and a half after sending his e-mail. He said there was a lot of planning between himself and the show, which he had to hide from his girlfriend.


“Rachael had no idea,” Clark said. “I had to do a lot of sneaking around.”


The proposal, which took place on Valentine’s Day, aired last Wednesday. The video was also uploaded to “The Ellen Show’s” YouTube account.


Clark said he was a little uncomfortable knowing his proposal would air on national television. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” averages 2.9 million viewers, according to tvbythenumbers.com.


“I’m not one of those types of people that get nervous,” Clark said. “But it was pretty cold that day and I thought it was 109 degrees out. To say I was nervous would be the biggest understatement of the century.”


He said he was certain the proposal would go well.


“I wasn’t worried that she would say no; I knew she would say yes,” Clark said. “Or at least I was hoping, thinking she would say yes. Every phone conversation with ‘The Ellen Show’ would end in, ‘Are you sure she’ll say yes?’ I was like, ‘That’s the least of my worries.'”


The YouTube video has received lots of attention.


“(The video) currently has 36,000 views and I’m about 34,000 of those views,” Clark said Friday.


As of Sunday night, the video, titled “Ellen Proposes — via Twitter!” has received nearly 50,000 views.


The video was tweeted last Wednesday by the Ohio Union, which wasn’t aware of the proposal when it took place on Valentine’s Day.


“Someone else tweeted the video to us and that’s how we found out about it,” said Kurtis Foriska, associate director of marketing for the Ohio Union.


Foriska, who is one of four people who run the Ohio Union’s Twitter account, tweeted the video shortly after the proposal aired on television.


“Nobody at the Union knew we were filming,” Clark said. “And I hope I’m not going to get in trouble for it.”


He shouldn’t worry.


“It’s fine. That was awesome,” Foriska said.


The couple said a wedding date has yet to be set, saying the proposal really hasn’t sunk in yet.


“People are wanting to talk about it and I don’t really know what to say because I haven’t been able to comprehend it all,” Clark said. “Even though I knew what was going on when it was happening, it all felt like a surprise to me.”


They both are grateful to DeGeneres.


“No amount of ‘thank yous’ could ever compare to what she did for us,” Clark said. “I think it’s amazing that she took two poor college students from Grove City, Ohio, and gave them this opportunity to propose via the Internet, via her.”

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