A Story Worth Sharing

Kathleen Shaffer, Staff Writer

     English teacher Kimberly Stuber has lived with the death of her sister since September 12, 2002 and keeps her memory alive by sharing the story of her death with her students. Her sister Stephanie Wadsworth died after battling stress caused by her kidnapping in January of 1999.

     Stuber and her sister were seven years apart and spent most of their childhood in Kansas. Stuber was close to her sister, and she remembers times they shared while they were younger.

     “She would always follow me around,” Stuber said. “Stephanie liked to watch me put my makeup on and always wanted to be like me. For example, I was a cheerleader so she wanted to be a cheerleader too.”

     While talking about her sister Stuber’s voice began to crack and her eyes teared up. In 1999 Wadsworth was kidnapped.  Wadsworth was injected in the thigh throughout the kidnapping, causing her to be unconscious the majority of the time. After a week the kidnappers brought her back.

     “She was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Stuber said. “Afterwards she was different. She couldn’t keep a job after that, and she kept moving. She was afraid he would find her again and come after her.”

     To deal with the kidnapping, Wadsworth went to therapy and took medication to help with post-traumatic stress disorder, but she soon turned to drugs. Wadsworth was not able to deal with the stress from being kidnapped and began to use crack, which led to her death.

     “Stephanie was in New York with a friend, and her purse got stolen, and she called me to come get her,” Stuber said. “At the time, I had four young kids, and it was Texas to New York. I was, like, ‘can I buy you a bus ticket?’ and she’s, like, ‘no I’ll figure it out. Thanks anyway.’ That was the last time I talked to her.”

     Wadsworth called her dealer in Kansas to come get her from New York, and he went to get her and then brought her back to his house in Kansas. Once Wadsworth was in Kansas, she proceeded to smoke crack. While she was coming down from her high she hit a low and killed herself at the age of 26.  

      “She went out to the garage and got some rope and strung it over the tracks for the garage door,” Stuber said. “She hanged herself by jumping off a car, and I know she regretted it.”

     It was hard for Stuber, knowing that her sister had called and that she could’ve made a difference. The struggle of losing her sister is still with her today, but she continues on. Stuber has been a teacher for five years and has worked at Plano for the past four years.

     “The way I see my life is like I’m hopelessly hopeful,” Stuber said. “I have an optimism that things are going to be okay, and I look for the bright side. I have no idea why I’m like that but I just am. Being at this school makes me happy. This job is awesome. I love kids this age. I love the school and the tradition. I love the people that I work with. I love the subject I teach, American Literature. There are jobs that make more money, but what good is money if you don’t like living every day? I can’t think of anything I’d rather do.”

     Stuber wants to share this story to keep other students from getting involved with drugs. She believes that if it wasn’t for crack, her sister would still be alive.

     “I would go a thousand times from Texas to New York if I had known it would make a difference,” Stuber said. “Just in honor of a beautiful life that’s gone it would feel good to know that her story kept somebody from trying crack. Drugs lead to destruction. As a teacher I don’t want this happening to my students. If telling this story just opens one person’s eyes, then it is a story worth sharing.”