Seniors Charlie Woodruff and Victor Folk go from debate to life partners


Courtesy of Cara Borgsmiller

Senior Charlie Woodruff bends down on one knee to propose. All the members of the speech and debate team and family on both sides were at Marquette to see Woodruff propose to Senior Victor Folk. “It was an emotional spectacle to watch. People on the team were getting teary eyed, and we were all so happy for them, ” senior Haran Kumar said.

While seniors Charlie Woodruff and Victor Folk may have entered the Feb. 16 Marquette Invitational as debate partners, the pair left engaged.

“I’ve known Charlie for about three years. We met at this tournament freshman year,” Folk said. “[The proposal] was in front of a lot of people, but I was also very excited. I did know ahead of time that the proposal was coming at some point that weekend, but none of the specifics like location or time. I was nervous but also extremely happy: nervous because I have some social anxiety and there were a lot of people, and happy because I really love Charlie and didn’t have any doubts about saying yes.

Woodruff spent the week leading up to the tournament planning the proposal. Family of Folk and Woodruff were at Marquette, as well as all the members on Parkway West High Speech and Debate team.

“It was very last minute, but I thought, this weekend is really important to us, so I had to do it,” Woodruff said. “Victor and I first actually met and started talking at the Marquette High School tournament. [He] told me later on that that’s when he first knew that he had a crush on me.”

As the years passed, the two began to spend more and more time together. They would spend weekends together and work on debate cases and eventually found more time to see each other outside of school and debate tournaments.

Courtesy of Cara Borgsmiller

Folk and Woodruff pose with their families moments after the proposal.

“Soon it was that I’d see him once a week, then it was every day that we were with each other after school, then after a year or two it was to the point where we were staying at each other’s houses,” Woodruff said. “I would literally just spend the week at [Victor’s] house. His family means a lot to me and I consider them my second parents.”

Senior Haran Kumar has known the pair for years and witnessed the proposal firsthand while competing at the tournament.

“I was overjoyed for them. They’re just perfect for each other. They’ve been through so much together over the last three years, and they’ve overcome so much together,” Kumar said. “I’m just really happy for them. It was the first time I’ve ever seen someone proposed to in person. Charlie’s been a really supportive friend and a talented debater. Victor is one of the smartest people I know. He’s brilliant.”

Woodruff and Folk plan on studying at UMKC together and are expecting to be roommates.

“You know how there are two sides to a coin? It’s sort of like that; we’re the same coin, but different sides,” Woodruff said. “He’s math and science, I’m English and history. He’s brains, I’m brawn. We just compliment each other and make a really good team.”