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Student News of Liberty High School

LHStoday

Student News of Liberty High School

LHStoday

Student News of Liberty High School

LHStoday

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A Bittersweet Farewell

Beloved AP Literature teacher Mrs. T-O is retiring after this school year
Mrs.+T-O+competes+in+a+lip-sync+battle+at+Libertys+2023+homecoming+assembly.+
Anna Simms
Mrs. T-O competes in a lip-sync battle at Liberty’s 2023 homecoming assembly.

Mrs. Elizabeth Tarrant-Oliphant (or T-O for short) is arguably one of the most favored teachers at Liberty, and for good reason. Ask anybody who’s had a class with her, it’s likely that they will tell you how charismatic she is. It’s clear to see that she truly loves what she does, and we are sad to see her go.

Mrs. T-O’s writings on the the drywall of her school playroom in her childhood home. (Elizabeth Tarrant-Oliphant)

T-O has been teaching for 29 years, nine of them being here. Her first 10 were at McCluer, and her second 10 were at Frontier. She also taught at her university’s childcare center for about four years. She has always wanted to teach. 

“From my earliest memories, I was playing school and wanting to be a teacher.” She describes it as a “calling” for her.

English teacher Mr. Schaper has known T-O his whole career; since he started working at Liberty in 2015. The main memories that stick out to Schaper are of the many kindnesses she’s shown him over the years.

“There was one time that she went out of her way, even though she didn’t know me very well yet, to come by and invite me for lunch,” Schaper recalls from his first year of teaching at Liberty. He describes her as warm, personable, selfless, and unique.  

Mrs. T-O has been one of the most supportive colleagues I’ve ever worked with.

— Mr. Schaper

“Mrs. T-O has been one of the most supportive colleagues I’ve ever worked with,” Schaper said.  

Rather than comparing her to a character or person, Schaper describes her as an archetype or a mixture of multiple. She knows when and how to be professional. She is lively, but “cuts through the noise” when she needs to. While Schaper is happy for T-O having the ability to retire, he is sad to see her go. He hopes she will get to have more time for herself, maybe the ability to vacation more often. 

T-O has three children. Annette graduated from Liberty in 2021 and is a Theatre Education major at Missouri State University. Jack is a junior at Liberty who is involved in DnD (Dungeons and Dragons) club, ESports, and Scholar Bowl. Patrick is a seventh grader at Frontier Middle School who loves theatre, soccer, and riding his bike.

“Those are my three physical children, not to mention the thousands of kids that I’ve taught because I think of my school kids as my kids,” T-O jokes. 

Senior Samantha Irlmeier is in T-O’s sixth hour AP Literature class. She hadn’t met her before this school year, but had seen her being “cheerful and uplifting” in the hallway when she passed by. Irlmeier describes her as Ms. Honey from the movie “Matilda.”

“She’s such an amazing teacher and has a way of getting you super invested and involved in class, just like in the movie,” Irlmeier said. Irlmeier is excited to continue to read, analyze and conversate more about the texts over this school year.

T-O loves many things about being a teacher.

“First and foremost, I love the kids. The relationships I build with kids, it’s irreplaceable,” she says. A lot of the relationships she’s had have been formed through teaching. She met both of her husbands, Scott and Andy, through teaching. She has friendships with graduated students. Going to graduation parties, baby showers, weddings, you name it. “I don’t know another job where you get to extend your family to the degree that you do as a teacher,” she says. 

Senior Samantha Carr had sixth hour English 3 with T-O last school year. She says T-O stands out because her approach is different from other teachers.

“She’s like a school mom; always there for you but will call you out if you are doing something wrong,” Carr said. She compares her to Grammy Norma from “The Lorax.” Carr is sad to not have a class with T-O this year, but is still happy to see her in passing. “She always says hi and gives me hugs, especially when I need it most,” Carr said. 

For T-O, it’s incredibly hard to pick just one moment in her career that stands out to her. 

There’s not a year of my career that the kids haven’t given me a million different sweet, funny, sad, tragic, and inspiring things that I take away from this job everyday.

— Mrs. T-O

“There’s not a year of my career that the kids haven’t given me a million different sweet, funny, sad, tragic, and inspiring things that I take away from this job everyday,” she says. 

When kids write letters thanking her, when kids get into a college that she wrote a recommendation letter for, every little moment is precious to her.

“It’s about the day-to-day grind that has made the job memorable,” T-O said. Every moment counts. 

Senior Katelynn Larson is in T-O’s 6th hour AP Literature class. Before this year, she had only heard her name. Larson says that T-O stands out because she is “very understanding of our workload, very respectful, and doesn’t use her status to intimidate us.” She is excited to read the books that T-O has lined up for class this year. 

I personally met T-O last school year. I took AP Literature as a junior and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Now as a senior I am a TA for her sixth hour. Outside of publications and choir, no other teacher I’ve had in my high school career has tried to have any sort of holiday celebration. It may seem silly, but it’s nice to relive those memories with your peers, to just relax and have fun together. Watching other kids my age get to experience what I felt in her class last year is an amazing feeling for me. I feel so lucky to have known her. 

For T-O, the decision to retire is purely a financial one. She will collect her pension while working as a teacher elsewhere. 

“I have two more kids that are starting to get ready for college and making twice your salary is an embraceable reality that I’m ready for,” she said. 

T-O has left quite the legacy here at Liberty, and we will forever cherish her for it. As Schaper says, her puzzle piece will be hard to replace. Thank you, Mrs. T-O. 

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About the Contributors
Abbiegail Luker
Abbiegail Luker, Reporter
Abbiegail Luker is a senior in her fourth year of publications. She's in her third year of magazine, and first year of chamber choir. She likes to bake, draw, play video games, listen to music, and watch anime in her free time. Her favorite anime is Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, and her favorite genre of music is heavy metal.
Will Bohn
Will Bohn, Reporter
Will Bohn is a sophomore and is in his first year doing journalism and is also in his second year of publications. His first year of publication he only did the broadcast for the football games but this year is planning on doing more. He hopes publications can improve his skill in video editing and hopefully take it to a more professional approach. Some of his favorite hobbies are listening to music, playing video games, and video editing.
Henry Sartain
Henry Sartain, Reporter
Henry Sartain is a senior and this is his second class involving publications. He has been at Liberty for all of his years in high school and when he’s not at school he loves to go on walks and watch TV. In his junior year, he was a part of journalism. He went out to get interviews with teachers and students and wrote stories about their accomplishments or the events they were a part of. He took many pictures of all kinds of events happening around the school, including Student Council, performances, and sports.
Anna Simms
Anna Simms, Editor-in-Chief of LHStoday.org
Anna Simms is the editor-in-chief of LHStoday.org and this is her third year in publications. She is also in her senior year and second year at SCC. After high school, Anna plans on going to a university to study biomedical sciences, and later get a doctorate. She is also a part of Liberty’s drama club as an executive board member, and has done both acting and tech. Outside of school, you can find Anna either taking photos, editing, hanging out with friends, listening to music, or reading!

Comments (2)

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  • M

    Mr. Datz | Sep 26, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    Great story about a lovely human!

    Reply
  • M

    Mrs. T-O | Sep 22, 2023 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you for writing such a beautiful story and for making such an amazing video about my retirement! I am so incredibly grateful for your love and kindness! I am so touched and humbled by your words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    Reply