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Ms.+Nidz+holds+a+Burmese+Python+on+one+of+her+many+trips+to+Florida.+She+took+select+science+students+to+Florida+for+many+unforgettable+experiences.++
Ms. Nidz holds a Burmese Python on one of her many trips to Florida. She took select science students to Florida for many unforgettable experiences.

Ms. Nidz holds a Burmese Python on one of her many trips to Florida. She took select science students to Florida for many unforgettable experiences.

Ms. Nidz holds a Burmese Python on one of her many trips to Florida. She took select science students to Florida for many unforgettable experiences.

Becca B., Staff Writer

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Fun loving, spunky, crazy, funny and amazing are all words that describe Stone’s beloved seventh grade science teacher, Ms. Nidz. Sadly, we lost her after long battle with Ovarian Cancer. Ms. Nidz was more than a science teacher to myself and so many people, she was a shoulder to lean on, a friend, an inspiration, and just an amazing person.

Susan Elaine Nidzgorski, also known as, “Sue Nidz” was born on May 26, 1960 in Wilmington Delaware. She grew up with 3 sisters, her twin identical Joyce, and older sisters Bobbi and Jane. She of course enjoyed science, played the flute and sung in choir. When Ms. Nidz was 10 years old her older sister, Bobbi, introduced her to tennis, and she instantly fell in love with the game. She attended Mt. Pleasant High School with Joyce, also playing tennis. Both of them captained the girls tennis team, led the team to number one and number two singles positions and won several championships and tournaments. She also represented the Middle States Tennis Association at any tournament all over the country. Even though she was actively recruited to many university level tennis teams she decided to stay in her home state and go to The University of Delaware. During her freshman year, she earned number one singles on the women’s tennis team with Joyce right behind her. During sophomore year she led the team to breaking the school record with most wins in the season. She was put back with a broken leg junior year, then joined Joyce again during her senior year. In 1982, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Special Education with an interest in biology and an emphasis on business.  In 1992, she moved to Northern Virginia to continue her teaching career. She briefly taught at Franklin Middle in Chantilly,  but then in 1993 she joined the science team at Stone.

Ms. Nidz taught at Stone up until 2002 where she taught Biology at Westfield High School and returned back to Stone in 2004. Ms. Nidz served as the science department chair from 2004 until December 2016. She was always known for trying to get students, staff members, and visitors to the school to meet her ball python, named Mufasa. She also held a legacy for a very decorated classroom. Her classroom consisted of fish, rats named Gaia, Snickers, and Oreo. Plants, photos of wildlife, and her past life experiences, educational posters, Snapple tea caps glued around the cabinets, decorations hanging from the ceiling and many random items including bobble heads and souvenirs from her many trips are just a few decorations found in her classroom. The one thing that her classroom always consisted of is candy. Dum-Dums, Lifesavers, and mints in a Spongebob Squarepants bucket were always on the table.

Ms. Nidz coached tennis on top of teaching at Stone. She coached at Chantilly High School for many years and coached the boys team at Westfield from 2003 until 2004. She was awarded coach of the year many times. Ms.Nidz was awarded the United States Professional Tennis Association P1 level teaching professional and was awarded the Mid-Atlantic President’s Award in 2017. She even coached Mrs. Savage an eighth grade English teacher.

I was very close to Ms.Nidz, in her note in my 7th grade yearbook she said, “ I knew that we would have a strong bond beyond the student teacher relationship from the moment we met.” It’s true, we did and I will treasure it forever. I love animals and I have always been fond of reptiles and snakes but she really brought that out in me. She also took the shy seventh grade girl that I was, threw it in the trash and shaped me into the person that I am today.  My memories with her are countless but there are two that really stick out to me.
  

I remember the first Friday of my seventh grade year in panther block when Mrs. Mitchell came on the loudspeaker telling everyone about reading days. I will never forget Ms.Nidz reaction to this and the look on her face. She was so shocked. “Fridays are my cleaning days, not reading days!” she put up the blue door window cover, locked the door and told her entire panther block, “Take a candy, dudes!” and she runs over to Mufasa’s cage, grabs him, looks at me and goes “here.”. She handed me the beautiful snake and I fell in love while I held him that entire time. People played with the rat, Gaia and Ms. Nidz cleaned her cage. From that day on when ever I was feeling stressed she pointed at Mufasa’s cage and again, “ Get a candy dude!” After that day I was sitting at my desk doing homework with a ball python on my arm.  

  She loved her classroom and everything in it, especially the decorations hanging from the ceiling. I vividly remember coming into Panther Block and finding Ms. Nidz upset, not just upset but mad and really mad. The reason, the fire marshall and the ceiling decorations. Apparently the decorations were a fire hazard and had to be taken down. Protest, that was her response. I was told to grab Mufasa, she grabbed her bucket of candy and everyone else came armed with paper and markers. The entire Panther Block was spent sitting in the hall outside of her classroom “Protesting”.

 

As her obituary says, Susan threw all of her energy and passion into pleasantly imparting her knowledge with all whose paths crossed with her. Her smile, her words, her positive attitude, her generous gifts, her hearty laugh, her incredible strength, her compassion for all, her humble pride, her competitive fight in sports and against illness, and her never-ending sharing of all that she knew, will be forever ingrained in the minds and souls of all who knew her.” I could not say that any better. Ms. Nidz means so much to me and so many other people. She was truly an amazing person and Stone will never be the same without her.

 

Many more students have fond memories of Ms.Nidz, here are a few from her former students.

One memory that I have with Ms.Nidz is when me and my friend made a “Nidztopia” poster for her room. I remember how happy she was when we gave it to her, she couldn’t stop smiling! She immediately had it laminated and put it on her door… I will never forget the look of pure joy that I saw on her face. It felt great to make such an amazing teacher feel so loved and happy. I will never forget my seventh grade year with Ms.Nidz in panther block and 6th period science!” – Helene O, 8th

 

“… Even though she was a science teacher, she taught us beyond that. Ms.Nidz held me up when I was low and brought me up even higher when I was at my high point. She is so pure and full of joy. Wherever she went, there’s always happiness. Ms.Nidz never doubted me, or any of us. She taught me to be  whoever I want to be, go where ever I want to go, and spread kindness wherever you are like she did.Words are unable to define how much I love her. She was more than a teacher. Ms. Nidz was my guide, my mentor, and most of all my family. It pains me to see her go, but her lessons and memories she shared will forever be in my heart as long as I live. Thank you for everything, Ms.Nidz. We won’t forget you.” – Kara K, 8th

“… Ms. Nidz taught me many things. Other than science, she taught me how to be confident in myself, how to be happy, and how to love everyone and everything. She will always be in my heart, she loved everyone and she did not hide it. She was my favorite teacher and I will never forget her.” – Joscelyn P, 8th

Ms. Nidz was probably one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Not only did she teach the content so well, but she was always willing to listen and she had such great energy and passion that could lighten up any day. Some of my favorite memories with her include the time she bought her twin, Joyce, to class, trying to convince us that Joyce was actually her. I also still am very grateful for having received her Comet Science Student of the Year Award and often find myself thinking of all those moments I spent laughing in her class. From the way she would purposely pronounce a word wrong, just to prove a point, to our classes’ many inside jokes. I will always keep Ms. Nidz’s lesson with me and will miss her very very dearly. We all love you Ms. Nidz #NidzKidzForLife” – Dao T, 8th
“Ms. Nidz was an amazing teacher…Teaching both me and my dad, we already had a relatively close bond from the beginning. She always wanted the best for every single one of her students, and cared so much for our environment. She gave me a love for science I didn’t think I’d ever have, and made what might’ve otherwise just have been another boring class in 7th grade into one of my favorite classes throughout the year. Thank you Ms. Nidz”– Alyssa R, 7th

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