This past Saturday, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when I found out that a much-loved teacher from my high school had passed away. Mr. Scott Stone was a physics teacher at Langley High School, located in McLean, Virginia, that was a friend and a mentor to many people.
Slowly processing the news of his death, my heart turned heavy, for I knew so many people would be affected by his passing away. I was one of those people, and while feeling incredibly blessed to have known him during my life, my heart throbbed as I realized I never fully expressed my gratitude towards him.
Teachers. We have a lot of them in our lifetime, but only some of them stick in our memories as we grow older. We remember the ones that gave us the stingiest of grades, we remember the ones that made every class into a comedy show, we remember the ones that just made us fall asleep all the time, and we remember the ones that always had so many stories to tell.
However, the ones that permanently stay in our hearts are those that make an impact on who we are as individuals today and the ones that made us a better version of ourselves. Mr. Scott Stone was that kind of teacher to me.
In light of this event, I had time to think about how much gratitude we owe to teachers like Mr. Stone. We, as students, have the privilege to meet a teacher in our lifetime that impacts us differently than any others ever have. You might have met yours already, or you haven’t quite yet, but it is that relationship that you have to be most grateful for.
The best teacher of your life will teach you what it means to "do what you love." While sitting in their class, you will be able to see that your teacher teaches because they love to, not because they have to.
The best teacher of your life will make you want to push and challenge yourself. Once you see the passion your teacher has for what they teach, you will naturally be more enthusiastic and drawn to what you’re learning, and even if you don’t necessarily find the subject interesting, you will be driven to try harder because you want to show your teacher that you care.
The best teacher of your life will listen to your problems, and no matter how pitiful that problem is, he or she will turn it into a wise life lesson that you can take something away from.
The best teacher of your life will tell you to follow your dreams. Your teacher will tell you to do something that makes you happy if you love yourself.
And lastly, the best teacher of your life will be your friend, because he will truly care about you and your well-being. He will be one of the most influential mentors of your lifetime.
If you are lucky enough to meet that "best teacher of your life," cherish that bond you have. Take five minutes out of your busy day to email them, just to say hi and to tell them how you’re doing. And always, always remind them how grateful you are that they are a part of your life.
In a letter to his students, Mr. Stone wrote: “So, have the courage to be who you will be, even if not everyone agrees with your choices. If you love yourself, follow your dreams. If you love someone else, respect and understand and support their dreams. Expect disappointments and expect to have to work hard. This is a long difficult journey, but if you are light on your feet, it is not wearying. See clearly but laugh a lot anyway, including at yourself. Ite in pace (go in peace).”
Mr. Stone, thank you for everything you have done for me and the Langley community. Please watch over us, because your students are out to do some amazing things that will make you so proud.
This article is dedicated to him and all of his students whom he touched with his love.
Rest in peace.
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