The Inspiring Mrs. Berry

Following in the vein of explaining my dedications, today I’m writing about the dedication for the second book in the Soul in Ashes series: Allure of Enchantment.

The dedication reads:

To Mrs. Berry
Thanks for saving my writing journal.

Mrs. Berry was my English teacher in tenth grade, my sophomore year. In my school system, we didn’t attend the High School until we were sophomores, so it was my first year at the “big kids” school. Mrs. Berry taught the regular English class (as opposed to honor’s) in addition to being the drama teacher.

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I was a super shy kid, growing up. Actually, I still struggle with shyness, but I’m better than I was back then. However, when I heard they were auditioning for The Wizard of Oz, right before school started that year, I decided to try out. I had big dreams of being cast as the lead. On the audition paper, I wrote down that I’d only take a main part. Well, I read for the part of Aunt Em, but the director decided to cast an older student in the part. Because I was unwilling to take a part in the chorus, I didn’t get into the play. So, the first lesson Mrs. Berry taught me was to swallow my pride and be a team player.

I started the school year in her English class. I loved it! She was an amazing teacher that engaged the class and inspired them to love learning. I felt like she was truly my friend.

My favorite activity was writing in a journal every day, the first few minutes of class. I remember once that Mrs. Berry played some music to inspire us in our writing. That day, my imagination took flight, and I concocted a wonderful beginning to a story. We never took those journals home, but turned them back in to Mrs. Berry each day.

Halfway through the year, the administrators figured out that I should be in the honor’s English class, and they transferred me out of Mrs. Berry’s class. By then I’d grown to love her so much that I wanted to keep her as my teacher. So, I decided to take a drama class.

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It was really difficult for me at first to come out of my shy shell and act on stage. But with Mrs. Berry’s encouragement and excellent coaching I was finally able to overcome my fears. Under her direction, I took on the role of Kathryn in Taming of the Shrew at a Shakespeare festival where we won first place. I’ve enjoyed participating in theatrical productions ever since. I owe that to Mrs. Berry.

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At the end of that school year, I discovered that Mrs. Berry simply threw away the writing journals we’d created in her class. I was horrified, and quickly ran to her classroom. To my intense relief, Mrs. Berry produced my writing journal. She hadn’t thrown it away like the others. She said she knew I would want to keep it. She was right. Book 2 is for Mrs. Berry.

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