This story originally appeared in the spring 2014 Harker Quarterly.
In late December, Harker Quarterly received word that Jason Berry, the highly regarded English teacher who died suddenly in August 2013, had received an outstanding educator award from the University of Chicago in 2012. First-year University of Chicago students nominate candidates by submitting letters detailing how teachers have changed their lives by inspiring and challenging them to make the most of their educational experiences. The prestigious award has been given for three decades. Berry was nominated by Rachelle Koch ’12, who wrote in her letter that Berry taught her the value of writing. “Before I met Mr. Berry, English was just another class. I read when I had to. I wrote when I had to. I analyzed (if it could be called that) when I had to,” she wrote. “Once Mr. Berry became my teacher, I began to recognize and appreciate the beauty of literature and writing.” More about Berry’s life and teachings can be found in the Milestones section of the fall 2013 issue of Harker Quarterly.