Sayonara to Mr. Stuemky


| Thatcher McMorris

Stuempky at his battle station preparing to slay United States history.

- Thatcher McMorris and Adia Casey

At the end of this school year, Michael Stuekmy who heads DEN and SPUD as well as being the teacher for AP U.S. History will be leaving the school. Mr. Stuekmy will be taking a job as the Oklahoma City Area Director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. Big Brother and Big Sisters of America is a philanthropy organization that gives additional support through one on one individual mentorship to underprivileged students.

Stuekmy’s job will involve providing them with “an additional kind of long-standing pillar of support that they might not currently have.” He will specifically focus on looking for long-term business partners along with the organization of their big and little partnership events and essentially just community-based and fundraising events. The job offer initially entailed that Stuemky would start immediately, but he “stated quite clearly that if, if that’s a requirement of the position, that I’m not the right person.” Mr. Stuemky wanted to ensure that he was able to stick around through the AP exam for his AP students in addition to also being able to help finish everything out with Den, so with that in mind his last day will be Friday, May 12th. 

Pinpointing one specific favorite memory was difficult for Stuemky as he said, “There’s so many things I can pull from that are moments that I say, I’m so proud to have been a part of.” One unforgettable moment for him was the first SPUD week he was a part of as a DEN advisor. He really got to experience and see the heavy workload and the immense amount of time poured in by members. After experiencing firsthand the benefit the service had on the recipients, Stuemky’s career trajectory as an educator shifted as he came to the realization that he “wanted to center it around service somehow.” Getting to watch as students made connections and lightbulbs switched on was another one of Stuemky’s favorite memories that gave him joy.

He’s thankful for all his students and colleagues and the incredible conversations he has had with many of them. All the support, challenges given, and encouragement to see things differently by some of his colleagues have left a tremendous impact on him,  “Miss Capps has always been a massive supporter of mine. Chad Boese has been a massive supporter of mine. Rick Sondag has been somebody that I’ve had just wonderful conversations with about like the concept of teaching and why it is we do what we do. I can’t say enough how much they’ve impacted me positively. And how much I appreciate their mentorship and their support, and the memories that I have with them here at the school.”

Stuemky initially started out as Miss Capps’s student teacher in 2015, before going on to teach Oklahoma history in the spring semester of 2016. He enjoyed teaching Oklahoma History as it’s “tangible, it’s history that people can see smell, feel, and experience every single day.” Chad Bose came to him regarding SPUD and DEN in either 2018 or 2019 to fill Amy Lawson’s position when she had decided it was time for her to step back. To Stuemky, he said, “Service and leadership have become central to what I think is my identity, not just not just professionally but personally as well.”

Norman North takes a lot of gratitude from Stuemky and heeds in Stuemky’s mind, a lot of responsibility for the molding of his self-image. He is highly appreciative “of this experience, of this opportunity” that has been provided to him by Norman North. He plans to come back as “a big part of my heart will always be with Norman North, and my daughters will both be here.” In his life, Norman North has been more formative to his identity than his own high school will ever be. His goodbye to Norman North isn’t permanent, and he wants to come back, especially for SPUD events. Despite his wife being a Norman High grad, he feels as if “part of her heart is here now as well.” As a final sort of farewell, Stuemky says of Norman North that “This is a place that will always really hold a significant place in my heart and has had just a massive influence on who I am as an adult, as a person, as a professional, as a career from this point forward. So, always my greatest conditions of gratitude.”