This year, the senior class has decided to dedicate the yearbook to a beloved member of the Emma Willard School community, Alan Berry.
Earlier this summer, Emma Willard School’s Gargoyle staff announced their dedication of the 2021-2022 yearbook to Henry L. Thompson Instructor in Mathematics Alan Berry. Mr. Berry’s now former advisee, Lillian Liu ’22, penned this year's heartfelt dedication:
“All right, folks! That’s all for today. You’re welcome to leave the classroom now, and have a great rest of your day!” The bell rings in Slocum 318 as Mr. Berry finishes jotting down the last definition on the blackboard for his Calculus class. Rubbing the chalk powder off from his tie scribbled with geometric shapes and math formulas, he pulls out his guitar and welcomes his advisees into the classroom to practice for a song he plans to perform at Apollo. After advisory, he’ll be in his office in Weaver, sipping green tea from his ceramic teapot. And just a few hours later at the end of the day, you’ll see him in Kellas Commons, flapping a ping pong ball with a PE student who barely knows how to hold the paddle, but is learning thanks to his good graces.
Upon the shelf in Mr. Berry’s office sit pictures of his family members and students he's taught over the past 47 years. It’s amazing how someone without any social media apps can stay in such close contact with all of his former pupils. It’s likely because he has completely transcended the role of a math teacher who has mastered explaining Taylor Polynomials and Trigonometry. You eat with him at the dining hall and listen to his travel plans for the upcoming summer. You search for him on duty in the library when you need to confide a secret. You hear his advisees talk about roasting marshmallows with him on their trip to his lake house. You wave at him during a cross country meet or a basketball game to greet his cheers in the front row. You get surprised by his presence in a Gothic Literature class to observe the teaching methods of his peers and enhance the experiences in his own classroom. You walk with him side by side to the Slocum doors, and before you can even pull out your key card, there he is, holding the door for you and entering after.
After teaching for 30 years in the Vermont public system, Mr. Berry arrived at Emma Willard in 2006. His constant love and support since his arrival have given us the confidence to say that—
No matter how far from Emma we are,
A pair of wise eyes and a warm hug will always be there for us
to pursue the dream he ignited in our hearts.
Through his efforts in the classroom and beyond, Mr. Berry has left a tremendous impact on the Class of 2022, and the nearly 16 graduating classes before them since his arrival at Emma Willard School. Whether it’s his time as the advisor to FOCUS, a student Christian Fellowship club, chaperone of the Ski Club, or playing his guitar in a performance on campus with students, Mr. Berry has solidified himself as an integral piece of campus life. A bright and shining face known to all on Mount Ida, his infectious smile and delightful warmth have become a staple of the EWS community. “I always feel energized by his enthusiasm,” proclaimed one student, a sentiment we can all share when thinking about the positivity Mr. Berry brings not only to work with him every day, but in his approach to life.
As the Class of 2022 heads into the world to map their own uncharted territory, they are forever supported by the comfort Mr. Berry has provided to them over their tenure at Emma Willard School. We applaud Mr. Berry for breathing life into the halls of Slocum with his lessons in the classroom and for inspiring our students to find beauty in life’s complex equations. Congratulations, Mr. Berry!
Honoring its founder’s vision, Emma Willard School proudly fosters in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world.