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.