Teach Me How to Love


photo submitted by jason model

Jason and Susan Model pose for a photo, during a high school dance.

February may be the shortest month of the year, but it certainly packs a punch. It marks one of America’s—and every singles’—favorite holiday: Valentine’s Day. It’s a time filled with cheesy cards, chocolate hearts, and an excessive amount of Hallmark movies. Valentine’s day is all about expressing the love, both romantic and platonic, that you hold for others. Not surprisingly, many Stoughton High School teachers have experienced long lasting love that others can aspire to have.

Sam Raff—Spanish Teacher

In 2012, at the age of 21, Sam met Jillian, who happened to be his bank teller at the time. The two were in college, and while they interacted frequently, they didn’t know each other well. That is, until Sam’s senior year of college, when he moved into a house with some of Jillian’s friends. Here, they officially met and quickly became close, always spending time together in big groups. Sam was apparently oblivious to her growing feelings, and it took two months and a scheming friend for the two to finally come together as a couple. In Sam’s opinion, their foundation of friendship was essential to their relationship later on, when they had to spend a year apart. After graduating college, Sam moved to Spain, and Jillian moved to Madison. That distance, Sam says, proved how much he loved her and how badly he wanted to be with Jillian for the rest of his life. He knew that if they could be committed to their long distance relationship, it would all work out. They were married in the summer of 2018, and the couple is coming up on their five year anniversary. They have two boys, Vincent and Martin, who have only furthered their relationship according to Sam. Their kids have pushed them to communicate more, and now the Raff’s strive to create a healthy model for all future relationships their kids will have.

Jason Model—Learning Academy

Before River Bluff Middle School came to be, Stoughton Middle School was where the sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students received their education. It was here that Jason met his future wife, Susan. He was a sixth grader, and Susan was a seventh grader. During lunch, notes were passed between tables, and someone passed Jason a note. The first thing he noticed was Susan’s beautiful penmanship, and that the message said Susan was trying to go on a date. Their relationship has been a steady aspect of their lives ever since. They went to Stoughton High School together, where Susan was a cheerleader and Jason wrestled. The two were also Norwegian Dancers together. When Susan graduated from SHS, the couple broke up for a few months but found each other once again, and have been together ever since. When the Models were expecting their first of two children, Jason set up a surprise weekend for the two, celebrating their last few days before becoming parents. Mr. and Mrs. Model have been married for 24 years. “We’ve just known each other for so long, and we have very common core values. It’s what’s connected and kept us together,” Model says. “We get along. We’ve always been respectful of each other and our own independence, so it was easy to come together and build a life together.”

Patrick Schneider—Social Studies Teacher & Cross Country Coach

In the summer of 1998, Patrick was living and working in the small town of Thorpe, Wisconsin. With a population of 1,500 people, the dating pool was small, so Patrick joined a class at nearby UW–Eau Claire. He sublet an apartment, and through his roommate and friend’s girlfriend (at the time), he met Amber. Amber had been in a relationship for three years with a boyfriend who didn’t always want to be pinned down as a “boyfriend.” One day, Amber asked their friend group if anyone wanted to attend a minor league baseball game with her, and Patrick was the only one who went. The two spent five hours together, and it was the most comfortable Patrick had been with another person. Their conversation was easy, and he knew she was someone special. Eventually, Patrick told Amber she should break up with her boyfriend, and start going out with him. And she did. For a week, they dated, until Amber broke up with Patrick before an hour-long car ride for a day trip to Valley Fair, an amusement park in the Twin Cities. The newly single Patrick then flirted with her friends for the rest of the trip. However at the end of the day, he asked her again to reconsider their relationship. Amber ended up going on a week-long camping trip in the Chequamegon National Forest with her past boyfriend of three years, but before the trip started, she broke up with him. The two of them then spent a miserable week wandering through the largest forest in Wisconsin. When they came back to civilization, Amber wrote Patrick a letter—which he has to this day— asking to give their relationship another chance. Her ex-boyfriend tried to win her back for eight months, before finally taking the hint. On December 19, Patrick proposed to her in the Capitol rotunda, in front of the Christmas tree, saying “It’s about time.” They were married on July 21, 2000, and are approaching their 23 year anniversary.