Monday, August 11, 2008

A Free Spirit Says "Goodbye"

Oh, God, this is the hardest thing to write. Stephanie "Stevie" Fiorino, aged 19, died yesterday. We don't know much about the circumstances of her death, except that she was at her Mom's house. I'm so sad.

Stevie was on my newspaper staff for 3 years. Beyond that, I've known her family since her big sis, Angela, was a 9th-grader in the Journalism Program--that would have made Stevie a 4th-grader, roughly 10 years old. I consider her Mom, SueEllen, one of my "Mom Friends." Her Dad manages a local restaurant where we go often.

I'm on vacation this week, and my cell has been ringing all day. Former students calling, texting, e-mailing the news.

Stevie touched us all, and we loved her very much. One of my former newspaper editors, Lizzy W., penned the following tribute after we had a long talk this afternoon. Liz was on the DC Beltway; I was a world away, sitting on the deck at the beach.

I'm going to e-mail Stevie's sister, Angela, after I post this. I don't know what I'll say, except that Stevie touched my heart. She always will.

The Thing for Stevie, by Lizzy W. Edited slightly to protect the "innocent"
Every time I listen to my iPod, the band All Left Out comes on. This is NOT my type of music. I prefer something that sucks a little less. I can directly blame Stephanie “Stevie” Fiorino for this abysmally terrible addition to my music collection. Thanks, girl. However, I recently shuffled through that album that she graciously let me burn (no way did I listen to it) and fondly thought of her; the way she adamantly tried to convince me that this band was “awesome,” but more things, the best things, I remembered as well.

Stevie was on the newspaper staff with me in high school. We tag-teamed as the combination of comedic relief and rebels. We deliberately disobeyed our adviser by spending class periods dancing like the white girls we were, surfing the Internet for inappropriate material to share with our classmates and conveniently avoiding our duty of putting together a newspaper. I am shocked when I think of how that newspaper, The Oracle, ever was finished, for I have no memory of contributing to it directly and I’m sure Stevie would feel the same way.

Her wit was remarkable. Nothing brought her down. As perturbed as the Journalism Adviser got at us, Stevie would react with a smart-ass comment rather than break down in uncontrollable tears (as I frequently did). She was dedicated to her cause of creating Oracle Chaos. She mostly succeeded. This was part of her magic; to organize and lead in hopes of destructing the norm.

Stevie taught me to honor my dreams, even the ones that included owning my own island. She, at least, saw possibility. Stevie never gave herself enough credit for her unwavering faith in everyone. She was also never disappointed in people. I have yet to acquire my tropical island getaway, but I know that it wasn’t about having dreams come true, but rather that her message meant having dreams at all.

I will always remember Stevie for her unconditional kindness to everyone who crossed her path. But, more importantly, her awful taste in music.


Sean Hogan said...

I've got very similar memories of Stevie. I remember in 4th grade or so we had a project where we all had to "sell" a "product" and "buy" "products" from others and whoever made the most profit won. We had like $20 in play dollars and Stevie's product was some awful band's CD. She made the most profit because I bought the "CD" from her (nobody else made more than like $5).

It's an odd memory, but it takes a special person to remember something of such little significance so long ago.

RIP Stevie.

Clix said...

Oh, MAN. I can't tell you how sorry I am. My sympathies are with you, and my prayers with her family.

cupcake said...

Wow, Scribe. I am so sorry for your loss. Like Clix, I will keep her and her loved ones in my prayers.

Amy said...

Sucks is just gonna have to become an acceptable word. Cause that sucks, too. )=

Mimi aka pz5wjj said...

Oh I'm so sorry for your loss!

How sad.

teachj said...

Sucks is definitely an appropriate word - at least for this.

Hopefully she is in a far, far better place.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and her family and friends.

Deanna said...

How devastating. I am so very sorry!

Gina said...

My deepest sympathies for you, Stevie's family and friends....

"Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains."
Kahlil Gibran

OKP said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Tara R. said...

I am so sorry to hear about this. She sounds like someone my own 19yo daughter would have enjoyed hanging out with. My prayers to her family and friends.

Amber Gaines said...

stevie is an amazing person. We hung out all the time at the low home i miss her electric additude that always kept everyone smiling. Stevie seeing u today broke me. but all i can think about now is how many good times we had. Mama force always and forever. i love u stevie i forget this shady past and look on to the bright future best of luck. Stevie is one of a kind <3
Love amber

Kelly - PTT said...

How sad! Beautiful tribute, though. I'm so sorry.

Christina said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with the family during this most difficult time.

Urban School Teacher said...

Scribe- Got back from my TEFL teaching today so I have only just read this post. I am very sorry for your loss.

Mrs. Bluebird said...

I'm so sorry. It's so hard to lose a student especially one with so much potential. I've lost two in the five years I've been at the School (drowning and a suicide) and it still just rips my heart out when I run across their names somewhere. I miss them both.

Anonymous said...

Hi there

I don't know if you will get this comment after such a long time. I knew Stevie a long time ago but I have just learned that she died. Are you able to let me know what happened?

Thanks so much


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