Stephens aims to bring awareness to Hunt

Sara Rand, Staff Writer

  On Aug 28, 1990 the growing town of Plainfield, along with neighboring towns of Crest Hill, Joliet, and Oswego, was struck by a lethal tornado that killed 29 and left 353 injured, along with a town flattened and the school building in pieces. 

  Among those killed was Stephen Hunt, science teacher and boys’ track and field coach. He was in the school preparing for the coming school year when he was struck by debris.  

  Many of the people in the building now did not know Hunt personally, but principal Dave Stephens and science teacher, Dave Rahtz, were both working at the school when Hunt was a teacher.  

  “For me personally he’s always been an important person.” Stephens said. Rahtz continued “He was a passionate teacher who loved science, the environment and track.”  

Rahtz recalls a time when Hunt was absent and had planned a video of Famine in Africa, but the sub thought it was todepressing, and showed a video on whales instead. When Hunt returned, he asked his students what they thought, and they responded with positive remarks. Huntnot knowing about the switch, passionately lectured the class on caring of global struggles, when a student commented “what is so tragic about whales playing?”. 

  The school currently has a special plaque located underneath a tree in the front of the school honoring Hunt.  In addition, an annual track meet hosted in his honor. The Stephen P. Hunt Invite brings together all four Plainfield schools and honors Hunt with the pride of Plainfield.  

  However, Stephens has noticed that the dedication plaque seems to always be covered up by dirt or mulch and does not get the appropriate recognition, so Stephens wants to bring the awareness back to Hunt’s life and legacy, and to remember the history of the school. 

  “We get a new crop of students every four years, so it [memories] tend to leave and he was such a big part of the school”, Stephens said. 

  Although most students don’t know who Stephen Hunt was, or what is done at the school to remember him – and why it’s important, those in track do and they show that respect and honor at the Invite.  

  “He should be remembered because it is part of our school, it’s part of our history, and if the tornado didn’t happen, we wouldn’t have our school the way it is now”, sophomore, Ariana Matos, track and field member, said.