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Beloved teacher never gave up

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Susan Hirsch

Susan Hirsch

Photo Courtesy of Rodney Adams

Photo Courtesy of Rodney Adams

Susan Hirsch

Sam Bartholomew, Reporter

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Our school is saddened by the loss of Susan Hirsch, who lost her long battle with breast cancer on March 1.

Her friends remember the amazing woman they will never forget.

“Susan Hirsch was a truly inspirational teacher, colleague, friend and role model for all whose lives she touched,” said Kathy Wall, friend and colleague of Hirsch. “She personified grace under pressure and her positive attitude was simply contagious.”

“In the time that I knew her, I saw her as a person of courage, perseverance, and an incredibly dark wit,” said Principal Elizabeth Schmechel. “A really remarkable woman that came here with something new to offer for each of her students.”

“She was a very strong, dedicated teacher. She once broke up a fight in her classroom, and still made it to a department meeting,” said Gary Drysol, English teacher. “She will be missed.”

“She was a really sweet natured person and I always admired that she could put a smile on her face even through all the pain she was going through,” says Monique Walsh, colleague and friend. “I also loved that she stayed so faithful and positive through each and every day.”

“In some ways she seemed superhuman in what she could endure,” says April Rodriguez, fellow teacher. “She did not know the word quit.”

Hirsch dedicated her life to her friends, family, and, most of all, her students. Every time she was asked what kept her fighting, her answer was always her students.  “She lived for her students. They made her stronger,” says James Davis, junior.

“Susan was extremely dedicated to teaching and to making a difference in the lives of her students,” says Stephanie Niechayev, English teacher. “She had an amazing way of indirectly inspiring all through her strong faith and positive perspective.”

“She loved being a teacher and loved her students, even the ones that gave her grief,” says Rodney Adams, Hirsch’s husband. “What really kept her going was her desire to come back to work and help her students. She missed her students every day.”

“Students don’t often realize how much they mean to their teachers,” says Schmechel. “She missed them, and wanted to be with them. She loved them.”

And her students loved her, too.

“She was like a second mother to me,” says Maria Vielma, sophomore. “I never would’ve gotten through my freshman year without her.”

“She was very creative and fun to learn from,” says California Tuufuli, junior. “She always had this fun sense of humor, and I’m going to miss that the most about her.”

“She was amazing. No matter how bad you were doing in her class, she would still be so encouraging,” says Julie Trujillo, junior. “She really just wanted us all to be successful.”

“She was a great teacher.She was always very open about her condition,” says Alexis Ferguson, junior.

“She was a very strong woman, and she would make the best out of everyday.” says Jhenna Patterson, junior. “I will never forget her.”

On the day of her death, her husband posted a letter Hirsch wrote before her death to his Facebook page, beginning with his own sentiments, “Today I am a broken man.” In the letter, she reassured that she was no longer in pain and cursed the disease that had taken the lives of so many people.

In the final paragraph, Hirsch writes, “I wish I had another 10,000 sunsets, 1,000 more rainbows, a chance to see my grandchildren grow up and make me a great-grandmother. I wish I could walk on the beach and feel waves and the sand and walk hand-in-hand with Rodney. I wish I could spend one more moment with all of you and tell you that I have truly been blessed by you and that I love all of you. Until we meet in the kingdom of Heaven, goodbye for now.”

“Her death reminded me of how magical and precious each person really is,” says Schmechel.

“Susan Hirsch may no longer physically be with us, but her voice will be heard forever as part of the school culture to which she greatly contributed,” says Niechayev.

“The world needs more people like Susan Hirsch,”said Wall. “Arlington High School was blessed with her presence; we will lionize the lesson on life that she has taught us all.”

Susan Hirsch will never be forgotten. She will forever rest in the thoughts and memories of those she knew, and those who loved her. Rest in peace, Susan Hirsch.

A memorial service was held on Sunday, March 22.

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The student news site of Arlington High School
Beloved teacher never gave up