On September 7th, 2009, students, parents, and faculty all mourned the loss of a very inspirational and enthusiastic teacher, Mr. Edward Janis. He was the primary debate coach for the debate team, and guided the team year after year to many well-earned victories.
Mr. Janis was in the spotlight many times before he began his legacy at GA. As a graduate of Cleveland Heights High School, he warned many fantastic roles in musicals during his youth. Some of these roles included Bill Sykes in Oliver and a lead in Mary Poppins. Not only was he an outstanding and talented performer, but he also trained solderers in 1973 during Vietnam War. He began associating with Gilmour even before a speech team was constructed. He helped his wife, gay, with the theater both at Gilmour and at Glen Oak when it was still open and running. Soon after that, he became one of GA’s most valuable teachers as the leading debate coach.
Unfortunately, a little over a decade ago, Mr. Janis was diagnosed with cancer of the throat. For the rest of his life, he struggled with the cancer. When the cancer took away his ability to speak, many thought it would be impossible for him to continue to teach. Mr. Janis had his own plan. He continued to coach the debate team on to many victories. His lack speech was absolutely no match for his passion and support of the team.
Brooke Marie Javis (’10), one of MR. Janis’ students, has many wonderful things to way about MR. Janis and his struggle. “HE was very valuable and always has a high spirit. Even though things in his life were bad, he still managed to smile.” Mr. Janis perseverance and determination were what kept his going, along with the support of his adored wife and students.
Peter Neudorfer (’10) comments, “Mr. Janis was a great man who was always there to help with anything. For a speech teacher, he sure knew how to listen.”
Mr. Janis never stopped coaching his students even as the days seemed to be dimming. Casey Weinfurtner(’11) reminisces about one day when she was practicing her speech. “I stopped and turned around. I saw him smiling, and he gave me the thumbs up. It was really special because he taught in a different way, and even though he couldn’t talk, he could still get through to you. You could just tell he really cared.”
Natalie Pike (’11) is a Drama student. She Agrees. “Even with his illness, he was extremely devoted. He’s probably one of the strongest people I know.”
Mr. Janis was so full of life and compassion that he inspired the faculty a great amount as well, leaving a lasting impression on everyone that knew him.
Ms. O’Leary is an Instructor of English in Middle School, the Director of the Middle School plays and one of Janis family’s closest friends. She remembered his passion for his career, “He really loved his job and he cared a tremendous amount about his students”
Mr. Teisl, the Dean of Students. Life and Discipline, also remembers Mr. Janis’ impressive commitment to his students and his clear determination to help them reach their absolute best.
The bond between Mr. and Mrs. Janis was absolutely astonishing. Anyone could see that they were always looking out for each other and making sure each other was okay. Mrs. Gay Janis was inducted into the Speech Coaches Hall of Fame (adding to her esteemed and well earned collection) and Mr. Janis, despite his declining health, still traveled to see her accept it. Their support for one another was simply unbreakable. Not even the worst of conditions could keep them from loving each other and cheering for one another. Ms. O’Leary elabo- rates on their strong bond, stating quitting was never an option. “Mrs. Janis simply wouldn’t let him give up.” Along with the support of their daughter, Brittany (`03), the Janis family was unstoppable. They would not allow cancer to tear them apart. They truly are an inspirational and remarkable family. Regrettably, the cancer had won the physical battle, but Mr. Janis will be cherished in the hearts of all who were lucky enough to know him. Mr. Horgan, Director of the Up-
Per School, says that Mr. Janis was recently signing off his emails with a quote from the poem, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas. The quote read, “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Mr. Janis’ eternal flame will remain with all those that know and love him; he will never be forgotten. He has left footprints with the hearts of everyone at Gilmour. The Lance Staff wishes the Janis family peace, love and sympathy in this time of loss.