Warriors of Jupiter: Jill Plummer

Jill Plummer captured teaching her students.

Jill Plummer, a beloved English teacher and colleague, has a long history at Jupiter High School. She’s not only an alumnus but also a JHS homecoming queen. Being a Warrior has been an important part of Plummer’s life for nearly five decades, and she was excited to return to the halls of Jupiter High 18 years ago when she got a job teaching at her cherished school.

Although retirement is in her future, possibly after this school year, Plummer said her relationship with the JHS community is far from over. A graduate of the class of 1972, she and her high school classmates have made a point to participate in school events and reminisce about their own time at JHS.

After graduation from JHS, Plummer went off to college, where she majored in history. During her junior year of college, Plummer wondered what she would be able to do as a career as a history major, which steered her in the direction of teaching.

“Originally, my parents had suggested that I just get married,” Plummer said. “But I wanted to be able to take care of myself if need be.”

While she initially only wanted to teach history, she began to teach English as well.

“I went for my first job, and it was like a package deal,” Plummer said. “You want the job teaching History, you also have to teach English.”

Eventually, Plummer was drawn back to the halls of JHS and was excited to be teaching at the very school in which she received a memorable education.

“The friends and the feeling I had about Jupiter High School, it just felt like home,” Plummer said. “I have such a special attachment to JHS because my high school experience was so positive, and I just assumed that that same environment would be here.”

During her time teaching at Jupiter, Plummer has taught hundreds of students, whom she lovingly refers to as “goobers,” and has even taught some teachers on campus, including Janina Jeffs, the ninth-grade English department chair, and Graham Anderson, who teaches social studies.

“It is one of those special things about being a teacher, and there’s a nice connection knowing that they are on campus too,” Plummer said. “I look up to both of them.”

Jeffs, who had Plummer as a teacher during her sophomore year, for English II, looks up to Plummer as both a mentor and a friend, and she credits Plummer as the person who helped her get a job at JHS at the start of her teaching career.

“While I was student teaching, Mrs. Plummer was the person to let me know about the job opening here at JHS, and she helped me secure a position,” Jeffs said.

“Mrs. Plummer is not only a mentor, but also a life-long friend; she has always been my cheerleader for my accomplishments in education and ‘adulting’,” Jeffs said. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Mrs. Plummer in my life.”

Plummer’s journey as an honored member of the Warrior family began decades ago, long before she ever considered teaching at the school. This year marks the 50-year reunion of her graduating class.

As a student, Plummer had a much different high school experience compared to now, mostly because of the size and population of Jupiter. As of 2019, Jupiter spans over 23 miles with a population of 64,565, but during Plummer’s time as a student, it was completely different.

“When you got to Jonathan Dickinson State Park, it was like the Earth fell off,” Susan Brandt, JHS Class of ‘72, said.

This school year, over 3,200 students are enrolled at JHS, with about 750 students per grade or class. In contrast, Plummer’s graduating class, the class of ‘72, only consisted of about 100 students.

According to Plummer, it’s because of the smaller size that Plummer and other members of the class of ‘72 were able to form strong bonds and lasting friendships with one another.

“I’m so grateful our [class] was so small,” Plummer said. “I think that’s also what helps make possible the connections that we had.”

It’s these relationships that became extremely important to many members of the class, including Plummer, throughout their lives.

“You have this bond but yet you feel so comfortable,” Plummer said. “You don’t have any airs because they really know who you are, especially when you know somebody for 50 years and plus.”

At class reunions, which happen every five years or so for their class, members of the class of ‘72 feel as though they have somehow traveled back in time.

“You feel like you’re in high school again,” Plummer said, and she’s not the only one who shares this sentiment.

Pam Hutchingson, another member of the class of ‘72 and JHS alumni, agrees with Plummer, noting how reunions with her class take her back.

“It’s truly like 18 year-olds just running around and seeing each other,” Hutchingson said. “I really don’t feel like I’m 67 years old in my mind. I know my body is a different thing, but in my mind I’m just happy and so very grateful to have the people from my life in that class.”

While Plummer’s 50 years at JHS are extremely impressive, it is the impact she has had on the people around her and the relationships created that make her legacy, as well as the legacy of the class of ‘72, memorable.