Remembering Kristina Taylor: SJND Alumni, Colleagues Share Memories
The Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School community continues to mourn the loss of science teacher Kristina Taylor (née Stone). To share your own memories or a reflection about how Mrs. Taylor impacted your life, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauren Wallace ’18
“I remember during my sophomore year meeting her for the first time as my Honors Chemistry teacher. I was super excited because all of the upperclassmen raved about her. ‘Mrs. Taylor is the best teacher and you will learn so much,’ and ‘Mrs. Taylor is a wonderful person who wants her students to succeed,’ her students would tell me. Every day, she had a smile on her face and she made learning so much fun. Chemistry was a very difficult subject, but she made it interesting by helping us learn the periodic table from a song and creating 'moles' that we could use on our final exam. I still to this day remember the elements that always are in pairs from her signature 'BrINClHOF' acronym. Then in the following year, I was blessed to have her again as my AP Biology teacher. She made me fall in love with the subject. Her lectures were full of passion and details. I was never bored. I remember when she got teary-eyed towards the end of our year as we learned about evolution. She told us how much she cared about each one of us because we were like her children.
I, alongside other SJND students, founded Students in Medical Studies with Mrs. Taylor as our moderator. She always had the best ideas for our poster for Club Rush and helped our president Catherine Campusano coordinate a UC Davis medical conference. There were many club meetings and after school study sessions spent with Mrs. Talyor and of course, Rockett, the adorable chinchilla.
Mrs. Taylor never let cancer impact her students. She was always there if we needed her and she never let on that she was suffering. I remember in Medical Interventions class she showed her MRI scans when we were learning about medical screening technology. She didn't have to share something so personal but that was the kind of person that she was. If there was anything that she could do to help anyone in the SJND community, she would do it. She wrote my letter of recommendation for college even though she had met her max quota on the number of letters she would write.
My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.”
Emily Lara ’16
“Mrs. Taylor. I graduated SJND in 2016 and Mrs. Taylor taught me chemistry. To put it in better words, she made me fall in love with chemistry. She inspired me so much that I decided as a sophomore that I wanted to become a chemist one day. A few weeks ago I graduated with a degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry and the person who made that possible was Mrs. Taylor.
I think what made me realize that chemistry and science was for me was her absolute love for the subject. She approached every lecture as if it were the best part of chemistry and with every topic I fell more in love with learning. The most amazing part about Mrs. Taylor was how she made each student feel like she made a lesson plan for just them. No one left the classroom without the confidence to take on the homework assignment, but even bigger than that was no one left the classroom without the confidence to try and be the best student they could possibly be.”
Mrs. Julie Castro, Science and Math Teacher, St. Edward School
“What a deep loss of a dear colleague. Kristina, through her work with the Diocesan Science Fair, inspired a multitude of students as they fulfilled their dreams of completing their own science experiments and presented the diligent work. I remember many students of my own who have followed careers in medicine, nursing, research, and teaching that started with the opportunity and acknowledgement in the Diocesan Science Fair. Kristina will be deeply missed.”
Tia Gangopadhyay ’11
“I was Mrs. Taylor's student at SJND, class of 2011. She was my inspiration in science and in life. She was my teacher first, but my lifelong mentor and friend as well. In the years since I graduated, we kept in touch and I had the opportunity to see her many times. As fate would have it, I was at SJND's award ceremony for the class of 2016 when Mrs. Taylor received the Outstanding Teaching award. I saw the class give her a standing ovation and I, with all of her students and the faculty were brought to tears because there stood a woman who had made such incredible impact on so many lives. Hundreds of students, like me, were blessed to have her guidance.
For me, I'll remember calling her the night before the AP exam to ask just *one* more question I had, to stopping by for a hug and good luck before exams, to hearing ‘goodness gracious Pisaster ochraceus,’ to celebrating my college graduation with me, to coffee chats to strategize my career goals. It's hard to put into words exactly what Mrs. Taylor meant to me. She was undeniably the best teacher I have ever had and I will always cherish her love and friendship.
While the world won't be the same without her and SJND campus most certainly won't feel like home without her, the impact she has had on so many countless students' lives will forever signify the beautiful soul she is. Miss and love you always, Mrs. Taylor.”
Aisha T. Stephens ’03
“In Ms. Stone’s first year teaching, I was able to be in her marine biology class. It was so much fun. That is where I learned that we did not have pigeons here in the Bay Area, but Rock Doves. I argue with people to this day that these are no pigeons. We also dissected small sharks which smelled terrible and stunk up the halls in Marianist Hall, but we couldn’t wait to get back to class and learn more. Our trip to Crab Cove was cold, amazing, educational, and a lot of fun. Ms Stone made science engaging. She was awesome!”
Robin Binaoro ’05
“Ms. Stone was my BIO 1 teacher. As a student who knew science was something I wanted to pursue, Ms. Stone provided the mentorship, leadership, rigor, accountability, and fun I needed as a student. After completing her class, I felt compelled to continue chatting with her and laughing with her throughout my remaining time at SJND. As I approached my decision-making process for college, she provided guidance and listened to what my apprehensions were. Without being overbearing, she casually gave me suggestions and provided the outside voice that would help me decide that UC Merced was a viable option. I attended and graduated from UC Merced, which enabled me to be where I am today. In the article posted on the SJND website, it mentions how she questions herself, asking, ‘am I doing this right?’ and explaining how she wants to be ‘part of [her students’] lives and inspire them through her lessons.’ Well, I can attest she did more than right, and that her lessons and my time in her presence inspired me. She would be one of the people I would miss as I left SJND as she provided an integral stepping stone in this journey through life.
Anna Kittitanaphan Sotto ’08
“I knew her as Ms. Stone then. I was an awkward high school student at SJND between 2004 and 2008. I never got to have ‘Ms. Stone’ as my actual science teacher but all my other friends that did only had great things to say about her and her class. When I think about Ms. Stone, the word ‘cool’ always comes up. She was always the cool teacher that walked around - usually seen laughing with another faculty member or another student - being both a really great teacher and also a great human being. She had an energy where you didn't have to really know her to know that you liked being around her. I was always jealous that I never got to have her as a teacher. At this point in my life, I am considering becoming a teacher, and I think I will think of Ms. Stone often if I do. I'd want to exude her type of energy. All my brief but fond memories I have of her - I hope she feels them where she is now. Rest in peace, Kristina <3 You will be so missed.
Mr. Don Lippi, SJND Teacher and Coach
“Mrs. Kristina Taylor… A fighter - A leader - A super teacher - A volunteer for everything - A lover of students - A lover of our school.”
She got to SJND in 2002-2003 at about the age of 22. The next year was my first year back as a Pilot. We were lucky enough to win the State Championship that year. When we came back on the bus from Sacramento we got a phone call from Kristina asking us to delay the bus a little time. Kristina, a second year teacher, had organized a surprise party for us. She got as many kids as possible to hide in the gym and surprise us when we returned. The event turned into a fun party. Thank you Kristina!!! Her first years were filled with volunteering for everything. She is the science department - She is SJND.
Heaven will be a better place now because our angel is there helping out.
Peace and Love (Coach Lippi)”
Ms. Angelica Bailon, former faculty member
“I am so blessed to have known Kristina Taylor not only as a colleague, but as a friend. When I joined the SJND community in 2012, Kristina was one of the first to welcome me. From the start, she made me feel included and cared about. Eventually, we developed a friendship and were able to share in some amazing experiences together. Over the years, I had the privilege of traveling with Kristina, Jay, Jen and Kevin Stein, and a group of SJND Students to Peru, Thailand, and Ecuador. Kristina’s sense of adventure, love of learning, and appreciation of the world were so infectious. And they are all qualities many of us greatly admired in her and always will.
I will always remember how kind and selfless Kristina was, and that she never let her illness change her hopeful and optimistic view of the world. Through it all, she focused on making each moment matter by living to the fullest of her ability and being the best teacher, wife, daughter, sister, family member, and friend she could be.
I am so grateful that I got to know Kristina and call her my friend. I will cherish our time together and feel lucky that many of the most incredible and transformational experiences of my life (including visiting Machu Picchu in 2015, as seen in this photo) were with Kristina.”