So how did you first meet? We first met at school, and I was [teaching] at Irvington a year before Mr. Martinez. He was moving his stuff into his new classroom in room 62, and at that time we were neighbors in a way since my room is one block in front.
Cutest thing done together on campus? Sometimes we sub for each other, but we keep it pretty professional on campus; we’re not exposing our private life on campus very often but we definitely take advantage of the fact that we’re together to help each out in instances where we have to substitute for somebody.
Favorite thing about each other? We contrast in a lot of different ways, like he has a different teaching style than I do and different viewpoints, so I kind of like how he provides me with a different viewpoint on a lot of issues and teaching methods and and just always keeps the relationship interesting. He’s also just someone who stands up for what he thinks is right which is very inspiring.
Love advice to high schoolers? I do [have advice]. Okay so first of all, I made the move first; don’t let the gender stereotypes get in the way of kind of expressing your interest if you are interested. Also don’t…I guess don’t try too hard, like don’t become kind of obsessed with the person and try to just let it happen naturally if its meant to be. You can initiate but just don’t get too wrapped up in it.
Ship name? The best one that I can think of that combines our names would be “Mardinhez” but I don’t think our names really naturally mold well together.
Surprise message he won’t see until he gets the newspaper! Let me think about it… I want to be clever, but I don’t want to be too mushy either… I guess just: Looking forward to our journey together.
First meet? I first met her on my very first day here during professional development. We met in line getting keys to our classrooms. I was introduced to her because she’s a former student and I’m a former student at Irvington. But we first started really getting to know each other at Spartan Workouts on Saturday morning at Irvington. Also, at We the People practices, Ms. Dinh would come in and judge once in a while for practices because she’s also We the People alumni. From there, we just struck up a friendship.
Cutest thing done together on campus? We try to maintain a very professional relationship on campus so we don’t really interact that much. Once in a while, we’ll have lunch together.
Favorite thing about her? There’s so many things I love about her. Well, first and foremost, she is kind and thoughtful and incredibly bright and intelligent. She’s very measured.
Love advice to high schoolers? I had a teacher here named Jamey Richards, who was an English teacher. He just retired. And he based his class on life lessons, so this is some institutional lesson passed on to me from a teacher that has made an impact on my life and that would be to never settle. Never settle for somebody who doesn’t make you feel fulfilled, who doesn’t appreciate you, and who doesn’t compliment you. There’s no perfect person in the world, but there’s someone perfect for you. And that doesn’t mean they’re perfect for you at that moment but its somebody you can grow with and grow together. But never settle for anything less than you deserve.
Ship name? I don’t know… Like our combo name? I don’t know… I’m not that clever. A team name? Oh I don’t know. I don’t really think we got a team name.
Surprise message! Is it before this? *points to “wedding” on calendar*. Yes. Then: I am thrilled to be marrying you. And I’m looking forward to our journey in the future.
First meet? Mr. Stilwell and I actually met at a beginning band class at Ohlone. He had just gotten out of the marine corps and I was on my way to Berkeley but needed a couple units and… yeah, we met across the room so… really dorky.
Cutest thing done on campus? That would be Mr. Stilwell’s prom ask. That is kind of one of the coolest things he’s ever done. It was really crazy, especially since I was very pregnant and feeling very ugly and it made me feel so special and so loved, so it was great.
Favorite thing about him? I think that he makes me laugh. He makes me feel safe and supported and he makes me laugh. That’s three things but… I love him!
Love advice to high schoolers? Okay, I’m terrible, but don’t. Just have friends. Go hang out. Be kids. Don’t try being an adult so soon. That being said, I know none of that will happen.
Ship name? Oh shoot, I can’t remember. It’s the one from Monkey Island and I can’t remember. Ask Mr. Stilwell, he knows what I’m talking about. From Monkey Island.
Surprise message! See, no Chandler moment.
First meet? Met in a woodwinds class in Ohlone College.
Cutest thing done on campus? Well I did a big prom ask a couple years ago. That’s the big thing that I did. Do I have to come up with something she did? Well, very often I’ll forget to pack a lunch so she’ll come over with a protein bar or a snack or something during lunch.
Favorite thing about her? Oh that’s a dangerous question. I love her passion, and I love how kind she is. And she’s beautiful too.
Love advice for high schoolers? Don’t be afraid to try it out. I hear a lot of my students who are like “What’s the point of getting into a high school relationship if I know it’s not going to work.” Well, it may not work. There’s a lot of things in life that just don’t pan out. Relationships are a learning process in life like any other subjects or any other skill set, and if you start too late in life, you’re going to be behind everyone else, and you’re going to develop the way you need to be for, well, older in life. I think Mrs. Stilwell said the exact opposite thing. Ha! That’s our marriage. You can keep that on the record too.
Ship name? Mrs. Stilwell said to ask something about… screaming animals? *turns to Mrs. Stilwell* Honey, what’s our ship name? Wait, you’re talking about the screaming monkey? Or the screaming narwhal? That’s not what “ship” means. *to interview* She’s talking about a naval vessel. *to Mrs. Stilwell* Ship name is “relationship” shortened. You know, like Branjolina?
Mrs. Stilwell: MARRIED. That’s our relationship.
Mr.Stilwell: We tend to… well there’s Team Stilwell and there’s Team Phillips and Team Mintey. That’s who we are. Team Stilwell. She thought you actually meant a boat so she probably said “the screaming narwhal” or something like that.
Surprise her! Boy, you’re putting me on the spot. There’s not a lot we don’t say to each other. But I would say, “I love you more than I ever have. And I don’t regret any of it. I look forward to the next eighty years with you.”
First meet? We met when I was in high school in 2000, so like 18 years ago? He was friends with my sister so I knew of him, like we went to the same high school. So we met each other through high school I was a tenth grader; he was a senior.
Cutest thing done on campus? Cute? Nothing that I’ve done that’s cute, but he’s way more cute. One of the valentines days he did the valentine grams and he had students come and send one every period. For our anniversary one year he had students, which I guess is kind of weird in hindsight, bring down some of the stuff he had gotten me. So he does more cute stuff than I do. Well, I guess the first couple of years we worked here, we were able to go during our lunch break — and his prep period ended up being around the same time — we would go on lunch dates, but that hasn’t work out for a while, a couple of years. So not so much cute anymore.
Favorite thing about him? He is very funny and makes me laugh.
Love Advice to High Schoolers? Just don’t get involved in high school. Wait until you’re out of high school. Otherwise, love advice, don’t take things too seriously maybe? Be open to experiencing a lot of things during high school instead of limiting yourself to being dedicated to just that one person.
Ship name? Oh, oh we are Natully. So I get my whole name in there. I mean, he gets his whole name in there too, but really it’s just my name.
Surprise! I love you tudy pute. Oh, he’s going to hate that.
First meet? Technically, I first met my wife back when I was a freshman and she was a seventh grader because I was friends with her older sister and I was going to their house to get ready for a Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is all about Transylvania and it’s really weird. But, you dress up for it, so I was going to my friend’s house — her older sister — to get dressed up for it and I ran into her there where her sister was like “This is my little sister Natalie.” and I was like “Hi” and that was it, that was it. But we first started hanging out with each other and getting to know each other in high school because we would pass each other in the hallways all the time, and we’d have classes with each other too.
Cutest thing? So her first or second year, what we used to do was… well I had a second period prep. So I would pick her up at the horseshoe and we could go to a little cafe and get scones and coffee and have a little coffee date. But that doesn’t happen anymore. There’s no time for that. Actually, one time, through the newspaper, I bought a page, a whole page, and I did this thing in honor of her and it had like lyrics from our wedding first dance song and stuff. That was fun. I didn’t think it was cute, I thought it was funny, but other people thought it was cute, so it must’ve been cute.
Favorite thing? She’s really even keel about everything. She goes along with a lot of things; she doesn’t have megastrong opinions about things like, “No! I’m not doing that!” She’s cool to do a lot of stuff and try a lot of stuff and go to a lot of places and all that so it makes travel and going on dates really easy because we can do a lot of things. Even keel? Evenkeel. It’s like a boating term or something.
Love advice? If it works out, it works out. And if not, don’t worry about it.
Ship name? Oh, Natully. But in order for fairness — because she told it was N-A and then “Tully” which is my full name — it should be “N-A-T-U-L-L-I-E” so we get in a bit of her name at the end too. It sounds like her full name, but if you see how it’s spelled you see that it’s just “Na” and then my full name so get rid of my “Y” and put in an “IE” so it’s more of a compromise.
Surprise! Well, often we tell each other, “I love you so much and more than anything” so that’s what I would like to tell her.
First meet? We were both in Egypt the same year traveling. I was working at an American curriculum high school just outside Cairo. And he was working at a different American curriculum high school. We met at a conference for foreign teachers teaching Egyptian students. We sat next to each other at the same table.
Cutest thing done on campus together? I mean sometimes we’ll have lunch together and that’s kind of fun. I guess that’s cute. He. sends me flowers on Valentine’s Day, which is super cute. And I mean I always send him the Valentine grams that different clubs sell. Oh and sometimes, he comes into my classroom and when he leaves he says, “Bye beautiful!”
Favorite thing about him? Oh, he’s such a great guy. Like he’s just a genuinely awesome person. My family loves him. My friends love him. Everyone says we’re a great couple.
Love advice to high schoolers? Don’t take it too seriously. At your age. I confess: I didn’t mean Matt until I was 21. And. I’m really glad that I didn’t end up with the people I dated before him. You know, when I was younger I didn’t know. There’s so much to life you still don’t know. Just be nice to each other and help each other to have a good time. Help the person you’re with make their journey through life.
Wait, so how did you know he was the one? I didn’t at first you know because we met overseas so I wasn’t expecting that relationship to last. I was just expecting that it was going to be one of those overseas things where you come home and move on. But I came home and I was trying to date other people, and I did date other people, but none of them were as good as he was, and I always compared them to him. And it just kind of worked out. He moved to California for me—for us. You know, he’s from Montana. So, we’re talking on the phone and I was turning other guys down because I wanted to see where I was going to go with him. Anyway so I didn’t know at first that. That he was the one I wanted to be with forever. But when I wasn’t with him I missed him a lot. I wanted to be with him so I’m really glad because he’s awesome.
Ship name? We are Team Phillips. That’s what our friends call us.
Surprise message to him? You know, what’s hard is that Mr. Phillips is so clever. He always knows the right things to say. I can’t one up him for sure. Maybe just, “Still sexy. I still think he’s sexy.”
First meet? In 2001 there was a terrorist attack and we were old working in Egypt at the time. Actually I wasn’t working. She was working at a school and as a teacher, and when I was visiting I was on a trip like visiting friends, a friend of mine who lives there. And then after 9/11 happened we were in Egypt, and a whole bunch of teachers felt nervous and freaked out and took off. So like a school needed a bunch of teachers. I had gone to college, but wasn’t qualified to teach. But at that point, the school didn’t care and if you could speak English you were qualified to teach. So they had a meeting for all those teachers and it was supposed to be at the beginning of the school year but after September 11th, the State Department was like no you cannot have big groups of Americans together, it’s too dangerous. Eventually in January or February we did finally have this meeting. I was late and I actually went to go sit with some friends of mine who worked at the school. And I don’t know what happened… I think they were about to get right when I was going over to them. So I sat down and they got up and walked away and I was kind of just like “whatever”. Across from me there was this girl who was really pretty, but she was a teacher right then and I was 22 years old and I knew I was too young to actually be a teacher. So I assumed she was 28 or 29; she looked really professional. And so we just sat there for a while and when it came time to do these activities together, we had to find partners. So I was like, “Hey do you want to do something” and then we got together to do this activity. It was called “Zooly”. It was a logical thing where you had to deductively reason out things. And while we were doing the activity I picked out from the conversation that she was 21, not 28 and that she didn’t have a boyfriend. That worked itself into the conversation one way or another. And so for the rest of that day, we did activities together. I didn’t get her phone number but I got her email address, which was the wrong email address, which she still claims was a mistake but it’s kind of like switching a couple of digits of a phone number. She worked at this school way at the edge of town in a poor poor neighborhood and I worked at this school for super rich kids in Cairo. So she would take a twenty five minute microbus to the subway station and then she would take the subway all the way into Cairo. And we would go do stuff around Cairo. We were there for six or either months. But it wasn’t very serious. I thought we were never going to see each other again, you know. And so we came back. We visited once, and then maybe a couple of times because I lived in Montana and she lives in California.
Cutest thing done at school? We’ve done faculty follies. We did a movie theater skit where we went on a date to a movie theatre and stuff.
Favorite thing about her? There’s so many things. But my favorite thing is that we’re teammates. When I look at my parents it’s kind of like they’re nice but they’re not super loving and she’s very sweet. She shows love like that.
Love advice to high schoolers? You can start dating when you’re 40. I probably have the worst advice and the last person who you want to come to. Sometimes the people that it makes sense with are the the people you should be with right? She didn’t make sense and there were so many reasons why. We had so many differences between us and in our families and my concerns. But to be honest, sometimes it just doesn’t matter. Even though we both had serious differences, I don’t think we ever really had a choice. It was like already in our minds, like we knew what we were going to do. We both were like, “There’s a really good chance this could be a terrible idea but we’re getting married. That’s just what happened. And I remember that being a concern– both our parents had concerns over religious differences. And we both liked different TV shows… But it didn’t matter. You kind of know. You can’t control it sometimes. You just love each other.
Ship name? Berbillips? No… Team Phillips. I don’t know when that started but it’s kind of been a thing. The reason we got that nickname was because of Mr. V. He’s the one who gave us that nickname, because we were friends since a long time ago, long before he was a teacher. It’s because with the name Phillips, it ends with an “S”, so you can’t really make it plural. So if there was something that belonged to the both of us it would be like “Philipssssss”. So he decided Team Phillips just solves the whole problem. He said that and it just stuck. And the Team name is kind of like how we’re teammates. Like anytime there’s a problem, one of the things we would come back to would be, “Is this how you would treat a teammate? Are you being a good teammate right now?”. Sometimes when things are stressful, or you’re stuck and you need to choose, you always choose your teammate first. So if something’s going on at Irvington and one of us is on one side and the other is on another side, we’d go like, “No. We’re Team Phillips FIRST” and then anything else after that.
Surprise? Good things are coming, JUST WAIT FOR IT.