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M.A. ‘lifer’ steps away for motherhood

Physical Education teacher plans to stay at home with her child for the next few years

A cluster of young girls giggle as they slip beneath the gym bleachers. Their father stands in the middle of the gym, discussing strategy with a group of volleyball players. The girls, Julie, Amanda, Laura and Gretchen, play beneath the stands while the practice continues. As a volleyball soars over the net, Julie runs out from her hiding place and over to the wheelchair ramp where she and her sisters like to jump, run, pretend.

“I have so many memories of playing and climbing on that ramp,” gym and health teacher Julie Stone (‘99) said with a grin.

Stone’s roots at Minnehaha run deep. As her father, Forrest Dahl, taught at the middle school and coached volleyball for almost four decades, Stone grew up around the community and later attended M.A. from kindergarten through her senior year. Among Stone’s fondest memories of Minnehaha was hanging around the school while her dad coached volleyball and playing in the gym with her sisters, Amanda Olson (‘97), Laura Gundale (‘02) and Gretchen Dahl (‘06).

“For all my life I have been connected because my dad taught here for 37 years, so growing up even before I was school age I was always around,” said Stone. “Then I went to school here through senior year and even when I left here to go to college, and I went to Northwestern in St. Paul, my freshman year of college I started coaching here right away.”

In particular, one event from Stone’s senior year stands out as special and memorable.

“My senior year, one of my favorite memories is [when the soccer team] went to the state tournament and we got to play in the Metrodome,” she said. “We ended up winning and it was awesome. But, the turf was still not advanced like it is now where it feels like grass. It was literally like green carpet. It was terrible and you would fall and get rug burn. We had no other choice, but that was a great memory.”

Stone is also connected to Minnehaha through the history that her family has with the school. When Minnehaha’s centennial anniversary was celebrated in 2013, Stone said it was special “looking through old pictures of my grandma when she was a student here.”

Stone has been teaching at Minnehaha for 12 years and coaching even longer, but will be leaving after the 2016-2017 school year to be with her baby boy, who is due on June 27. Stone recently informed the MA community that she has chosen to stay at home after the baby is born.

“It was a very difficult decision and I had a hard time because I love teaching here, I love being here and I love coaching here, and I am really connected to Minnehaha in a lot of ways,” she said.

While Stone will miss Minnehaha, she is also excited for the next chapter in her life.

“Being a mom, it’s such a huge life change,” Stone said, smiling. “But also, I have three sisters…and the two that have kids both have had baby boys within the last year. There’s going to be three little boys and we’re going to spend a lot of time together. I’m excited to be spending more time with family.”

Over the years, students have appreciated Stone’s kindness and fun personality. Alumna Taylor Bye (‘15) remembers what it was like to be in Stone’s advisory.

“I loved her as an advisor,” Bye said. “She acted with extreme care with all of us.”

Caring about students and getting to interact with them on a daily basis is one of the things Stone knows she will miss most.

“[I will miss] the students…forming relationships and joking around and getting to know them,” she said. “My favorite thing about teaching and coaching has always been forming relationships with students.”

Stone will also be sad to leave another aspect of the Minnehaha community: her colleagues.

“I’m also going to miss my fellow teachers who I have formed great friendships with.”

Though Stone knows she would like to stay at home with her new baby boy for a few years, she hopes to stay connected with the Minnehaha community and maybe someday become involved again in some capacity.

“I’m very open to [coming back] because I love teaching and I love coaching. In the future I would love to be involved with Minnehaha  [again].”

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About Emma Melling

Emma is a senior staff writer who is interested in English and literature, and is also passionate about French language and culture. She enjoys writing features on arts and human interest topics and loves listening to people's stories. Her hobbies include reading, hiking and spending time with family.

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