Photo courtesy of Stephanie Bias
Remembering Georgia Stohr: A tribute from her students
When LaSalle-Peru yearbook adviser Georgia Stohr died in late May nearly two years after she was diagnosed with cancer, her students grieved, but they also did what Stohr would have insisted on — they soldiered through the remainder of their school year. Now they pay tribute to their beloved teacher.
June 16, 2015
NOTE: The author, Stephanie Bias, is a rising senior at LaSalle-Peru High School. She is editor-in-chief of the 2015-16 Ell Ess Pe yearbook.
Georgia Stohr, LaSalle-Peru Township High School’s yearbook adviser and journalism coach, passed away May 27 in her home surrounded by family. She was 42.
For almost two years she courageously fought a long and hard battle with breast cancer. She is survived by her husband, Jeff, and two sons, Ryan and Jake.
Stohr began teaching at L-P in 1994 and remained in her classroom up until just one week before she died.
Staff and students alike mourned the loss of their beloved friend and teacher as they struggled to make it through the last two days of finals together.
“It was just like Georgia to make things as easy as possible on everyone,” said Deb Nelson, L-P’s principal.
“Our Cavalier students and staff still had time to be together for the final two days of school to grieve together and support each other.”
Stohr stressed the importance of journalism to the Ell Ess Pe yearbook staff by guiding them in preparation for IHSA sectionals and state every year.
“Stohr always told me how proud she was of me,” said Black, a rising senior. “The look of pride on her face when she heard my name called at state for the second year in a row is the reason I keep striving to better myself. This year, I will ‘do my thing’ as she always told me and make Mama Stohr proud once again.”
In addition to teaching Yearbook I, II, III and IV, Stohr also taught Honors English I and British Literature.
She accepted all students, even if they weren’t in her classes. Luiz Guzman, a rising sophomore who will be an Ell Ess Pe staff member in 2015-16, was never officially in yearbook as a freshman, but he spent the majority of the year in Stohr’s classroom, which she fondly referred to as “yearbookland.”
“I always felt welcomed by her bright smile,” Guzman said. “She never had anything negative to say, and she was always able to make things seem better than they were.”
Stohr related to students of all ages and backgrounds, and Emily Piecha, 2014-15 Ell Ess Pe senior people editor and recent graduate, noticed.
“She understood and gave all of her students respect, a topic on which she and I conversed on repeatedly,” Piecha said.
“Stohr did not make her students jump through hoops to be worthy of her time, but she also did not stand for disrespect. She has been and certainly always will be the woman I most respect and admire in the world.”
A nature lover, Stohr spent much of her free time in her garden. L-P students and staff have begun to make arrangements to plant a tree on campus in honor of Stohr and her passion for cultivating life in both her garden and in her classroom.
The returning members of the yearbook staff are determined to keep the publication running smoothly in Stohr’s honor.
Clara Avenarius, Ell Ess Pe clubs editor, feels especially optimistic.
“Our staff is strong, and together we will get through this and push on,” said Avenarius, a rising senior. “Stohr would want us to be strong like she taught us to be. We will do that for her.”