Over the years, as English teacher, as mentor to many new teachers, and as moderator of IHA’s literary magazine, ORB, Ms. Rich became a master of her craft, teaching countless lessons to so many. But all those lessons were really about one great thing: to never be satisfied with anything less than your best. A poster in her classroom made this clear: “Good Enough is Not Enough.” She was pleased when students presented good work, but then showed them how to make it better, and was thrilled when they produced their best.
These former students are beyond grateful. “She made me stronger and more hopeful, steelier and less afraid to take risks,” Mary Cate Ryan’01 said. “I will always remember her fondly for expecting the best and making me want to deliver,” Julie Choi Trepkau’90 shared. “Every day I try to remember…to keep my voice strong and steady when making a point, and when I'm writing a paper, I remember to ask myself ‘So what?’” said Alexandra MacDonald’13. “She told me my writing was sub-par, then taught me how to make it excellent. She was terrifying and compassionate, serious and hysterical. The world of education will not be the same without her,” Christine Amoresano’07 shared. “She taught me to be a woman who…doesn't turn her answers into questions or say ‘sorry’ in every sentence…who knows she is smart and capable and ready to take on the world,” said Meg Szydlik’13.
One lesson most students remember is the lesson of the trees outside Ms. Rich’s classroom window. “Look at the trees,” she would tell them. Each day—each moment—the view will be different. The leaves will turn golden and scarlet, then wither and fall, but they will return again in the spring: a lesson in change and continuity. Although Ms. Marilyn Rich is gone from our community, her spirit is here and her lessons alive in the thousands she taught.
Please click here to see a beautiful video tribute to Marilyn Rich.