An ode to the legendary Stiff-Boss

Lydia Montgomery, Exchange Editor

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     If you have an Instagram, then you probably have heard about the account ‘Humans of New York.’ If you haven’t, it is a group that features different people, groups, charities and schools in a picture. Each person is asked a question that is meant to help the person open up about his or her life. The most famous was of a student named Vidal. He was asked, “Who’s influenced you the most in your life?” His answer, “My principal, Ms. Lopez,” created a wave of donations for his school because he opened up about his mentor who had made a difference in his life.

     As I write my final article for “The Explorer” newspaper, I reflect on those who have made a difference in my life. Of course, all my friends come to mind as people who made high school bearable: from late night talks at Starbucks to lunches where I always seemed to meet people I didn’t know, to Yours Truly breakfasts with friends every Saturday. I couldn’t have made it through high school without any of my friends. They created some of the best memories I could have asked for.

     But if I was asked about who has influenced me the most in my life, it would be none other than Jessica Stiffler, otherwise known as StiffleJ. I have had StiffleJ since freshman year Honors English. She was my adviser for newspaper, teacher for Journalism, and life coach when I needed guidance. I could not express to you the difference she has made in my life. I have never met a teacher, let alone a person, who is so caring and kind. She was constantly pushing me to do my best and to be a better student and person than I thought I was. She guided me in both my academics and in life. She is one of those teachers to whom you could go to and talk about what was going on in life and have full confidence that she would listen to you and know the perfect words to say. She was respected as a teacher and known as a friend among any of the students who had her. 

     If you don’t know what StiffleJ does, let me tell you. Not only does she teach freshman Honors English classes, where she is always looking for a new way to engage a class, she also teaches Journalism I, II and III. She corrects our many mistakes in our articles, helps us lay out our pages and encourages us to think outside the box. 

     Besides teaching all four classes, she also is one of the advisors of the newspaper club. During our late night week, she will stay after school on Fridays with students until one or two in the morning working on the paper. Then over the weekend she takes home all 40-44 pages of the newspaper and individually reads over each one to check for last-minute errors. I am astounded by her dedication and blown away by her passion for each student.So thanks, StiffleJ. You made high school bearable. You pushed me to believe in myself and never gave up on me. Even when I didn’t read all the books or turn in papers on time, you saw something in me that I didn’t see. I hope you know the lasting impact you’ve had on my life. I don’t think I will ever have another teacher like you and I hope that in whatever career I have later in life I will have the same dedication, passion, love and excellence that you have.


2015-05-19 10:14:30