I remember the first time I encountered Stefanija. It was one of the rare days when I take the bus to work. I was sitting on the #5 and this young woman gets on the bus. I was immediately struck by how composed and self-assured she seemed - just by how she boarded the bus! I was quite surprised when she got off at the same stop as me and started making her way to King George! This girl goes to our school? I've never seen her before. Must be some new grade 12 or something... Uh not quite. Turns out she was in GRADE NINE!! I still find this quite shocking. Stefanija K: World's Most Mature Grade 9 Student?
Three years later and I have had the pleasure of teaching Stefanija in grades 10, 11, and 12. She remains very composed and thoughtful and smart! She's a quick one, that Stefanija. Don't believe me? Ask anyone who has suffered through her exploits during the start-of-class puzzles. It's rare that she doesn't get at least three of the six puzzles. But what I love most about Stefanija is that she is willing to have me ignore her at times (she usually gives the answers quite subtly / quietly) so that other students can have a turn getting the correct answer. Thanks SK!
Stefanija is a deep thinker. I always enjoy watching her mull something over (math or otherwise), considering all options before deciding whether she understands / agrees. And she is not afraid to let her opinion be known if she does NOT agree with you (this is a good thing, by the way!). I have seen this multiple times at book club... and elsewhere. It reaffirms Stefanija's self-assurance and willingness to stand up for own beliefs.
I also saw this last year when Stefanija was unhappy with something I'd said in class which impacted her directly. Though it may have been uncomfortable for her to do so (or maybe not... she IS a very confident person!), Stefanija approached me outside of class time to let me know how disappointed she was in what I had said and how it affected her. I was very grateful that she did this. It allowed me to understand her point of view and for us to talk through the issue without (I think / hope) any hard feelings. Thanks so much, Stefanija. It would have been very easy for you to decide "that Wadge is a jerk" and leave it at that.
I believe this story points to one of Stefanija's greatest attributes: she is a very generous person. She takes others' feelings into account. She helps others when they are in need (one of many examples: she did lots of tutoring at Lord Roberts last year). She is not quick to judge or to hold grudges. She is very thankful when she receives help (math or otherwise I am sure). What a great person!
I have always enjoyed teaching you, Stefanija. Sometimes I fear that I am a little too immature for your liking, but I think we have always gotten along very well and I have nothing but great memories of you. Thanks for your wry sense of humour, your determination to understand things THOROUGHLY, and your cheerful greetings each class. You are a unique and special individual!