Hi Ms. Schwartz,
Warning: this contains sappy and overtly heartfelt messages.
I’m writing to you because I need to tell you that you have been one of the most impactful and influential people in my life. It’s hard to write this without straying off on a million different tangents, so I’ll do my best to keep this brief. Ms. Schwartz, I hope you know that you didn’t just teach me the fundamentals of writing, you taught me that people can conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges. It sounds cheesy, but I mean that with every ounce of my being. You’ve shown me what it means to be a true fighter. This kind of impact is invaluable. You inspire me every single day to get off my ass and do something meaningful.
I remember when you took the stage and beautifully sang “These Boots Are Made for Walkin.” I know this song was written about taking initiative and walking out on cheating men, but to me, it’s a song of triumph. The message I took away from the song was about taking charge in the face of exceedingly difficult circumstances. You embody this message. You taught me that even though my boots may weigh me down, I can always find a way to run.
There’s no force stronger than Jenessa Schwartz. She wrangled cancer for longer than anyone I’ve heard of. By being a force of strength, she has made me and countless other people stronger. And as I cry, I remember how grateful I am to have called her my teacher. Ms. Schwartz, you are, and will continue to be, one my biggest inspirations. You’ll never stop teaching me.
Zach Zinman, Class of 2019