RB says goodbye to Musil

Shannon Wrzesinski, Staff Reporter

As Jill Musil’s final year teaching at Riverside-Brookfield comes to an close, her students reminisce of her kindness and courage. The legacy she has left here is one that will not be forgotten by the lives she has touched.

She has made a huge impact on both the students and school itself. Her efforts to make students feel accepted and cared for did not go unnoticed.

Senior Gianni Segarra was in Musil’s government and global area studies classes. She recalls Musil’s influence on her.

“Ms. Musil is an incredible woman. She really understands me and makes every student feel respected in the classroom. She’s definitely made coming to school easier because I’m not really someone who enjoys coming to school. She brightens my day. She’s done so much for this school and I hope they’re really grateful for that because without her, the atmosphere would be totally different. I love Ms. Musil,” said Segarra.

Senior Ivan Astorga was in Musil’s U.S History and global area studies classes. He said that Musil taught him how to engage in class and he is happy that he did not take AP U.S History because he got to have Musil as a teacher. Her positive and encouraging presence made the school a better place.

“Ms. Musil has impacted the school in many positive ways. She was always helping everyone, really, to be honest. Even if it was something stupid like ‘Ms. Musil I dropped my sandwich’ she would always be there to comfort people for stuff like that. I dropped my sandwich on the floor and I was sad and she came over and sat at the desk next to me and said ‘Ivan it’s going to be okay. You don’t have to worry about it’ and I realized she was just a nice person that would be nice to anyone despite the situation,” said Astorga.

Senior Rosie Nolan believes that Musil has changed her perspective on adults and their willingness to adjust to the needs of their students. She is more inclusive than most adults Nolan knows and has given her hope for adults and their understanding of young people.

“For a lot of trans* kids and gay kids, she’s really been a safe haven. Which is really important because, not that RB is non inclusive, I think that people are afraid to go to certain teachers because they don’t say anything about gay issues. They don’t say ‘Hey! Gay students are safe in my classroom!’ They just like don’t say anything and assume kids feel safe, but I think she made a really big point to make students feel safe,” said Nolan.

Musil’s classroom was one full of learning, jokes, notes, and unity. In her classroom, everyone was equal. She made every day interesting and taught her students to enjoy the topic she was teaching them. I asked some seniors to name their favorite “Musil Memory”.

“I loved when Ms. Musil would rap or sing in class. Whenever she would rap, it was so good! She’s such a good rapper. I loved when we took tests, she would have written on the board ‘No cheating, No phones, No scrubs’ and she would sing ‘No Scrubs’ for people that didn’t know it. I loved that so much,” said Segarra.

Nolan also loved when Musil rapped, as well as when  she first met her.

“Before I even knew her, I saw her in the hall. I was wearing a “Parks and Rec” shirt and she pointed at me and she smiled really big and said ‘I love your shirt!’. She was like ‘That is such a cool shirt’. It just kinda made my day. It made me really happy,” said Nolan.

Musil would constantly smile and compliment students in the hallway. Her friendly nature illuminated the hallway.

“My favorite memory is every time she laughed. It always brought a smile to my face. It always made my day brighter, just saying good morning to her, I just thought ‘this is going to be a good day. It’s going to be a good day,” said Astorga.

Musil’s smile lit up the whole room and she radiated warmth and light. She always cheered up our class with kind words and optimism.

As the seniors part with RB this month, so will Musil. The school will not be the same without her next year. Her message of equality, compassion, and altruism has spread through the student body and hopefully will remain in years to come, even in her absence.

“She is a really powerful woman and I am really glad to have had her in my life because I love powerful women and I am a powerful woman. She is really important to me and I am glad I had her as a highschool teacher because she taught me how to establish myself.  Just being with her and my friends in that class, I was so excited. There are so many reasons why I am upset about her leaving, but having that taken away from me, it was personal. She has impacted so many people, people she doesn’t even know,” said Segarra.

Nolan misses the warmth she felt from Musil and her never faltering faith in the students of RB.

“The school feels kind of empty without her. Even before I had her, I knew her as this warm, happy, presence at RB. It feels weird without her. It’s a little lonely and I’ve lost something to look forward to at the end of my day. I really miss seeing her. She really believed in everybody regardless of your academic skill or your background. She really had faith in every student at RB and just knowing that helped a lot. Not to say that other teachers don’t, but she just proved it,” said Nolan.

Musil will continue to bring her light and energy wherever she goes by virtue of her presence.

“Not seeing her, It hurt. Not going to lie, it hurt. It felt like they were taking a family member from us and it’s very tough. Now that she is not here, I hope other teachers pass on that kindness that she passed to all of us. Next year, wherever she goes, she is going to pass that kindness to more people. I just miss her,” said Astorga.

As a minority student myself, I noticed how she would stand up for students and take us seriously. She never dismissed us as children and would listen to what we had to say. I was lucky enough to have gotten to know Ms. Musil over the past four years and I am so grateful for that. She has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever known. It saddens me to know that future RB students will not have the honor and privilege it is to know Ms. Musil, but the school she teaches at next will be very lucky to have such a positive, strong, intelligent and inspirational woman on their team. She has taught us to never stop fighting for what we believe in. Even when it seems hopeless, still we rise.