JEFFREY C. STILL
1968 - 1997
The communities of Granger Middle School and Waubonsie Valley High School suffered a great loss with the death of Jeffrey Still in February of 1997. His life ended at age 28, cut short in a traffic crash by the carelessness of a drunken driver. Loved and respected by all who met the vibrant, young father of two, Jeff was seen as a positive role model for youngsters and adults alike. He was described by many as a big man with a big smile and an even bigger heart. "While he continually lit fires for academic learning, he was sensitive and attentive toward meeting the emotional needs of his students," said Lynn White, lead teacher at Granger, where Jeff was teaching at the time of his death.
After earning his teaching degree from Southern Illinois University in 1991, Jeff served as a substitute teacher at Waubonsie Valley High School and at other District 204 schools until being hired as one of the original staff members when Granger opened in 1993. He taught social studies, coached basketball and became a sixth-grade team leader. At Waubonsie, he was an offensive and defensive line coach for sophomore football and volunteered as a sophomore baseball coach.
The night his car was struck, Jeff was returning home from watching the Waubonsie girl's basketball team win the semifinal sectional game on February 24, 1997. He passed away early the next morning.
Jeff was well known for continually working to strengthen community relationships by being a leader in organizing students in grade - level and school - wide community service projects. Making the most of opportunities was a key element in his educational philosophy. He lived and modeled the motto "Seize the Day." On his desk and prominently displayed in his classroom were the words, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
As a parent, Mrs. Darnias saw Jeff as the very person every mother prays her son will grow up to be a good, caring, kind and gentle man. "For that is what the big bear of a man was - a gentle man with a caring heart. He loved his students and his players, and they loved him."
Family members say Jeff was the same at home as he was in the classroom and on the athletic field - persistent, open-minded, trustworthy, fair and loyal. "He never punched the time clock, and that's how he made a difference in the lives of so many people," said Jeff's brother, Jim, who also taught social studies at Granger Middle School. "Jeff cared about everybody else more than himself. He treated you as he would want to be treated. He believed that you give back to the community what you get from it. He touched the lives of nearly 3,000 kids. He wasn't just their teacher; he was their friend. And he was my best friend."
Jim said that Jeffery C. Still Middle School is important to the legacy that his brother has left. "It was the community - parents and teachers and students - who spoke. They're the ones who suggested Jeff had gained the respect and admiration of many people. It says volumes to Jeff's sons. It says that people regarded their father so highly that they named an entire school after him. And that says a lot more than any one of us could ever say."