A Eulogy to Mr.Stone

Brendan Coffey, Managing Editor

This week, the Langley community has lost a beloved teacher and friend. Mr. Stone passed away yesterday night, but in my thoughts he is still with me.

Physics was never my favorite class. I thought it was boring, and many class periods I would nearly drift into sleep. Mr. Stone was not oblivious; he was an attentive teacher. He recognized that the class wasn’t always fun and lively. Thus, he always made an effort to inject some life into it himself. Halfway through each class period, Mr. Stone would always suggest “It’s time for a joke!” All of our heads suddenly popped up from the desk. He loved to make us laugh. His jokes were long and waited to hit you with the punchline. He would weave through the joke, watching our expressions. When we hit us with the punchline, everyone would laugh. Yet, it wasn’t really the cheesy jokes that were making us laugh. It was the life and emotion Mr. Stone put into executing each one. Whenever he didn’t have a joke to tell, he’d go around the class and let us offer our own. One classmate became that go-to joke teller, whipping out his phone each period to tell us the freshest puns. We all looked forward to that moment each class, the brief intersection between teaching and fun. Some classes it arrived later than others. One class, we blasted the Little Einstein’s remix. Then, the next class we laughed about a man obsessed with hoops in what was supposed to be an educational physics video. Mr. Stone always put teaching first, but fun was not far behind.

As a teacher, Mr. Stone’s dedication was limitless. The man was a machine. Before exams, Mr. Stone would offer before school, during school, and after school opportunities to help. Students flocked to him. His class was always full, whatever time it was, because Mr. Stone was our favorite resource. He answered individual questions without hesitation. He re-explained concepts without judgement. He wanted us to succeed. Mr. Stone arrived early in the morning, and late into the night grading and working on assignments. I once discovered we had school off by reading an email he wrote to students. It said
“I am at school and we just had an announcement that there will be no school today.”

He never stopped working. He worked for us, for the numerous clubs he sponsored, and for his family.

The last thing I’ll say about Mr. Stone is that he cared about every single one of his students. This went beyond academics. He would frequently ask students about how their clubs or sports were going. He would reorganize his schedule to fit yours if you had a match or debate the night before. Then, right before you arrived to take the make-up exam he planned all for you, he’d ask you about how it went.

“How did the race go? How’d the team do? What are you hoping for next race?” he would ask with a smile on his face. Then, he would listen, just as we did in his own class. He wanted to learn more about each one of us as a person.

My last interaction with Mr. Stone occurred a few months ago. I hadn’t seen him since the end of junior year. I had no more classes with him. With most teachers, that would’ve been the end of the relationship. Then, I passed him in the hall one day, and he asked “How is cross country going?”

He remembered. Months had gone by, but he remembered our conversations from the previous year involving my running. I stopped and told him that things were going well, and he remarked that running was a great hobby. It built dedication and perseverance, he said. Qualities that defined Mr. Stone, who was once a runner himself. At the end of our conversation, Mr. Stone asked that I let him know when there would be a local track meet so he could watch me run. I wish that meet could have come sooner.

The conversation ended with a thanks. Thanks for asking me about my life. Thanks for taking time out of your day to listen to me. Thanks for spending hours after school helping me prepare for your exams. Thanks for making me laugh. Thanks for caring about us.

Mr. Stone opened up his life for his students, despite how busy he always was. I ask that we all do the same. Please, keep Mr. Stone in your thoughts, no matter how busy you are. You always have time for friends.