Stacy Hallmark, English, Louisa County High School

April 6, 2013
By swat17 SILVER, Mineral, Virginia
swat17 SILVER, Mineral, Virginia
6 articles 0 photos 34 comments

Until ninth grade, English class had always been a breeze. I had no worries about getting an A in English in high school. However, I heard numerous frightening reviews about Ms. Hallmark, the ninth grade honors English teacher. Students claimed she was strict, intimidating, hostile, and a handful of other obscene terms. Going to high school was going to be frightening enough, but now I had this teacher to worry about. I didn't know how I was going to make it through the semester.

The first week of English class was an unforgettable one. As I walked into class on the first day, the room was silent. Our much feared teacher strode to the front of the classroom and took her place behind a podium. We braced ourselves. There, standing before us, was a strikingly beautiful young woman whose demeanor radiated authority. Her icy eyes seemed as if they could, with a single glance, freeze students in their tracks. As she went over the amount of work we would be doing, I soon realized that English class was not a joke as it had been in middle school.

Throughout the week, however, English class became one of my favorite classes of the day. Everyone got used to what seemed to be a massive amount of homework, which helped prepare us for other classes. Ms. Hallmark’s interaction with the class made learning fun. While reading aloud one day, she put on a pair of silly glasses to keep the class’s attention. Even through our giggles, we never missed a word she said. At the end of the week, we had a funeral for the “dead words” we were not allowed to use in our writing anymore. We wrote eulogies for the words and placed them in a coffin. Every day was different in English class and I looked forward to seeing what each day would bring.
At the end of the week, an earthquake destroyed our entire school. While the whole school population stood outside in mass chaos, Ms. Hallmark could be found comforting students in her yearbook class who were shaken up. After the earthquake, we went to school three days a week at the middle school. Ms. Hallmark still managed to deliver her lessons just as effectively. She made the longer school days more bearable for all of us with her witty jokes, fashion advice, and entertaining stories. At the end of the semester I was deeply disappointed to know that her class was over.

About a year later, right before winter break, my mother passed away. When school resumed, countless students stared at me and quickly looked away when I looked at them because they didn't know what to say. However, while saying hello to Ms. Hallmark and asking her about her winter break, she looked me straight in the eye, said some comforting words, and gave me a hug. Coming from such an intimidating, but extremely respected teacher, this simple gesture meant more to me than any condolences I received from anyone else. I soon learned that Ms. Hallmark is a lunch monitor during my lunch shift. Being the dedicated teacher that she is, she even grades papers during her lunch time. I still look forward to talking to her every day at lunch as I walk past her. Although she likely doesn't know it, her compliments have helped me through some of my worst days and that is something I will never be able to repay her for.

Ms. Hallmark goes above and beyond what is expected of her as a teacher. Not only has she facilitated my fondness of English, she has also taught me valuable life lessons. The most important lesson she has taught me is to never judge a book by its cover; despite the absolutely absurd negative reviews that I heard about Ms. Hallmark, once I got to know her, she turned out to be someone that I have an immense amount of respect for and someone I truly look up to. If more teachers made the differences that Ms. Hallmark makes, the world would be a greater place.


The author's comments:
Ms. Hallmark is a wonderful role model and I feel privileged to know her.

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This article has 13 comments.


on Jun. 12 2013 at 11:09 pm
PhoenixCrossing GOLD, Tinley Park, Illinois
14 articles 0 photos 179 comments
She sounds like a great teacher. Don't forget to go back to her for teacher recommendations for college! Anyways the essay was very touching and the way you brought her character to life was great. I'm sorry for everything that happened to you but this was fanatstic!

on May. 4 2013 at 12:39 pm
ChocolateLove SILVER, Warsaw, Other
5 articles 6 photos 158 comments
Simply amazing, write on. :) 

Hanban12 ELITE said...
on May. 1 2013 at 4:45 pm
Hanban12 ELITE, Lake Worth, Florida
133 articles 7 photos 633 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them."
Henry David Thoreau

"I fell in love the way you fall asleep; slowly, and then all at once."
John Green

Aww wonderful! This was ver exciting and interesting to read, other than most essays. Great job with this, and i absolutely loved the whole concept! Wish i could give u 10/10!

on Apr. 27 2013 at 7:03 pm
laurengerhard SILVER, South Windsor, Connecticut
8 articles 0 photos 124 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I am gone quite mad with the knowledge of accepting the overwhelming number of things I can never know, places I can never go, and people I can never be." -Sylvia Plath

My english teacher is the same for me. We're blessed to have such wonderful ones. 5/5

on Apr. 25 2013 at 10:00 pm
Literature_Darling GOLD, Warrenton, Virginia
14 articles 0 photos 32 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To live is the rarest thing of all. Most people exsist and that is all." ~Oscar Wilde
"I am a writer quite by accident, the way one my fall and rip a hole in their jeans." ~Blogger H. B. Sachs

Wonderful! This is one of the best essay type pieces I have read on teen ink! If it were possible I would give you six stars or even 7!

on Apr. 25 2013 at 8:09 pm
Laugh-it-Out PLATINUM, Brooklyn, New York, New York
38 articles 0 photos 445 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light" --Dylan Thomas

great job, really, you deserve this editors choice check immensly. i think that this piece really reflects the beauty of teaching because hey, it isnt al bad! it really makes you thank them for their time and apologize when needed for being a disruption. i have a wonderful history teachor who took us to do yoga in the park during our hour and a half (!) history period. it was amazing. he is always jumping on desks and throwing things, hes sucha  character! this article really reminds me of him! perfect balance of humor and seriousness. amazing job 5/5 , and i am sorry for your loss. amazing. keep rockin swat

swat17 SILVER said...
on Apr. 25 2013 at 7:55 pm
swat17 SILVER, Mineral, Virginia
6 articles 0 photos 34 comments
Aww thank you! Yeah, she's read it :)

dagnytaggart said...
on Apr. 25 2013 at 6:16 pm
Wow, this was very beautifully written. Honestly, these types of nonfiction articles get pretty boring, but this one captivated me, and held my attention throughout the whole thing! The wording is great, and I was actually smiling through this whole thing because it was so sweet! Did you show this to Ms. Hallmark btw??? 

on Apr. 24 2013 at 7:30 pm
ElisaTheDuck ELITE, Rigaud, Other
323 articles 5 photos 168 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Describe yourself in three words."
"Lazy."

Very well done! Great job!

SongBird04 said...
on Apr. 20 2013 at 10:57 pm
SongBird04, Littleton, Colorado
0 articles 0 photos 89 comments

Favorite Quote:
You've gotta take the good with the bad, smile when you're sad, love what you got and remember what you had. Always forgive but never forget, learn from your mistakes but never regret. People change and things go wrong but always remember life goes on

Aww, that was sweet! honors English is my favorite class, too! :)  That was really well written, though the second to last sentence is kind of long, maybe split it up? Just a suggestion--it's still good, though! Nice job!! 

on Apr. 17 2013 at 8:54 pm
Fallen_ PLATINUM, Quakertown, Pennsylvania
25 articles 3 photos 436 comments

Favorite Quote:
" a shattered world is only an opening into a new beginning with laughs, smiles, and love all around enter the world of the light and away from the broken darkness"

Congrats on getting editors chocie and welcome fellow new member i love this peice cause it was touching and i felt like i was you gonig into the classroom and i hope you show this to ms.hallmark.

Mckay ELITE said...
on Apr. 17 2013 at 3:00 pm
Mckay ELITE, Somewhere, Virginia
146 articles 0 photos 2260 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."
—Apple’s “Think Different” commercial, 1997
“Crazy people are considered mad by the rest of the society only because their intelligence isn't understood.”
― Weihui Zhou

P.S. welcome to the site! So happy to have you join. And Congrats on the Editors' Choice for this piece; they're so hard to get. 

Mckay ELITE said...
on Apr. 17 2013 at 2:59 pm
Mckay ELITE, Somewhere, Virginia
146 articles 0 photos 2260 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."
—Apple’s “Think Different” commercial, 1997
“Crazy people are considered mad by the rest of the society only because their intelligence isn't understood.”
― Weihui Zhou

You're talented, honestly. Very inspirational and touching peice. Did you show this piece to Ms. Hallmark (I think she'd like it)? English rocks!


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