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The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

The news site of Ludlow High School

The Cub

English teacher dedicated to running

Sylwia Lipior ’14 poses with English teacher and avid runner Stephanie Fernandes.

Imagine freshman year, you get your schedule and see English 9 and the teacher written is Mrs. Stephanie Fernandes. Naturally you’re curious about what type of teacher she’ll be. You walk in not knowing you’ll be meeting a very hardworking and committed teacher, whose passion is not only for teaching but running as well. 

Yes, Mrs. Fernandes prioritizes her students and job, but also loves the time she gets to be outside to run and exercise. 

Mrs. Fernandes has been a part of the Ludlow High School community for quite some time now. When she was a high school student, she had teachers that are still working here to this day, popular ones being English teacher Mrs. Masse and math teacher Mr. Martin. Little did she know she was about to come back to this community as a teacher. 

Mrs. Fernandes went to study at Emmanuel College in Boston. She majored in communications/marketing. She actually wanted to pursue a career in public relations at first, but ended up getting “nervous on where she would end up.”

The city life was a no for her and wasn’t sure if she’d even find a job. However, she remembered how she wanted to be a teacher when she was younger, and got an internship at Jamaica Plain Head Start. After, she became a teacher’s assistant her last year of college, and later ended up getting a degree in English where she started teaching at 21 years old. 

Now she is here teaching Freshman English and AP Literature, and is “ultimately glad” she went into teaching. Mrs. Fernades is a committed teacher, who puts a lot of effort and work into her job. Even if teaching is becoming repetitive, teaching the same courses and material every year, she loves that with teaching “nothing is ever the same.”

“I get to meet so many families, hear so many stories–and obviously I love stories– I teach English.”

Students love her as well because she is able to build connections and trust with them.

 She mentioned a story of a student who graduated six years ago, that when she had him as a freshman, he failed second term. Confused, she asked what his goals were since he was basically flunking high school. He said his goal was “not to go to jail.” She laughed at the response, but ultimately helped him with this goal and he passed all his classes and graduated high school. 

Junior Anabella Castro had Mrs. Fernandes her freshman year and said, “I thought she was a very good teacher and I thought she was very welcoming. She also made class very interesting.” 

Her relationships with students is what she thinks is just the “coolest thing about teaching.” 

Teaching is not the only thing that Mrs. Fernandes is great at. 

Physics teacher, Mr. Walsh is always known for being a fanatic about track and loving the sport so much, but there is another running fanatic as well in this school. 

Mrs. Fernandes loves running and exercising in her free time. If you’re up at the god-forsaken time of 4 in the morning, you might just see her trotting down the dark streets of Ludlow right before she gets ready for school. Other times you can see her running while pushing her stroller with her baby in it. You’ll never catch her taking a day off from running. 

As many students like myself are a part of track and field and cross country, she as well was a part of the teams when she was in high school. 

A common experience for students is that they’ll go into the fall sports season trying out for soccer. Mrs. Fernandes did the same, but she unfortunately was deemed not good enough. However, in a way she was grateful that she was “terrible at soccer” because she was able to find her love and passion for running. 

She ran under Mr. Walsh as well and he only had the most positive things to say about her commitment and love for the sport. He mentions how he loved coaching her throughout her high school career, but “what is most impressive is that she continues to improve as a runner 15 years later.”

Mrs. Fernandes continued to run all four years of college, and when she came back to Ludlow she worked as an assistant coach for the Ludlow track team as well under Mr. Walsh. As with teaching, she was able to work with the athletes just as well as her students and was “very helpful.” 

Mr. Walsh enjoyed having her as an assistant coach, and pointed out how she coached pole vault even though he didn’t let her do it in high school. It shows that she was willing to take on tough challenges. 

Mrs. Fernades wanted to go back into coaching, but she finds it difficult to manage her time with teaching, children, and her own running. It becomes a little all too much, all too fast. 

Why does Mrs. Fernades love running so much? 

She finds it “consistent.” She loves routines and consistency, and running is all about consistency if you want to improve. 

She loves the fact that running is so accessible. She can do it whenever she wants to. Let it be cold and snowing, she will be outside. Let there be a downpour, and she will go out ready to get that eight-mile run in. No weather will stop her and she likes that running gets her outside. Even on vacations, she will not miss a day. Visiting Portugal, she would go on a run everyday and not make any excuses. 

“It doesn’t matter where I am, as long as I have my sneakers I can run.” 

The feeling of accomplishment keeps her going even on the days that she isn’t feeling well. Even if it was a bad run at least she can say to herself that she got it in and doesn’t feel guilty. 

Speaking of feeling accomplished, her two biggest accomplishments in running are in the half marathon–her favorite length of running. She won a half marathon back in 2021 with her time being 1:32.40, which means her average mile pace was 7:04. Her biggest goal is to go under 1:30 someday. 

She’s only continuing to get better as she gets older. She is “more proud” of her running career now than when she was in college and high school. She thinks that her dedication to the “quiet/alone time” really helped improve her running even more after having her first child. 

Teaching is very important to Mrs. Fernandes, but running is something that she will always cherish. There is a good chance that you’ll find Mrs. Fernandes running down the street ten, fifteen, twenty years later. 

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