The Avenue

DePaul Prep’s Ram-done Acts of Appreciation: Issue 2

Serena Tran, Freshman Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Every successful student would not be where they are without a supportive teacher right behind them. Many individuals take teachers for granted, but their jobs are incredibly important. Teachers guide the next generation of leaders, and if anything, we should be thankful for the adults who work so hard to see their students grow and succeed.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a question on my social media asking my peers who they believed should get more recognition for what they do. There was a total of thirteen faculty members nominated, so every week, an article will be posted honoring two to three teachers or staff members.

Before we begin, I would like to write a quick message to every teacher out there: you may not get recognition for what you do, but there will always be a student who is successful because of what you did to help them. Even if it’s not said out loud, there are students who are grateful to call you their teacher.

Now, to the teachers and staff members who were nominated by the students, this goes you.

Mr. Braun

Meet Mr. Braun. Mr. Braun is a fifth generation Chicagoan who grew up in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood, west of Midway Airport.

According to Mr. Braun, when he was three, he visited a violin concert in Oak Park, and was completely hypnotized by the performers. As soon as the show was over, he begged his mom to let him take violin lessons– when he turned four, he finally began taking violin lessons that were taught using the Suzuki method. This method encourages very young students to learn to play an instrument while developing a very keen ear, and because of this ear training, he became good at adjusting his violin songs on his old piano. After a few years of this, he lost interest in violin altogether, and started taking piano lessons.

From kindergarten to eighth grade, Mr. Braun went to St. Daniel the Prophet School. As high school came around, Mr. Braun went attended St. Ignatius College Prep. In high school, Mr. Braun had the opportunity to be an accompanist for his school choir. He very much enjoyed accompanying and working with singers, and frequently led sectionals and helped his classmates learn their parts. Aside from his choir accompanying experiences, he was also president of pep band, which was an extracurricular club. According to Mr. Braun, he was a “music nerd” throughout all of high school– if he had any free tie, he would head to the band room and practice piano in one of his school’s practice rooms.

Mr. Braun had wanted to be a teacher since middle school, and although he believed he would wind up as a science teacher, due to his accompanying experiences, he had figured that he could teach music; from there, Mr. Braun attended DePaul University and got his bachelor’s degree in music education. After graduating from DePaul University, Mr. Braun worked as a music teacher at St. Viator in Chicago, and St. Joan of Arc in Evanston. For the last seven years, he also served as the music director at Irving Park United Methodist Church, but stepped down from the position last July.

Mr. Braun currently teaches Pep Band, Choir, Music Production and Composition, ad the media portion of the IDEA course, and hopefully next year, a String Ensemble class. Mr. Braun first learned about DePaul Prep about three years ago in the September of 2015, when Cardinal Cupich celebrated mass at DePaul College Prep. DePaul University’s Liturgical Choir was asked to help provide music at that mass, but they needed an accompanist, so Mr. Braun was asked by their director to help out. Mr. Braun then learned that DePaul College Prep was looking to build its music program, so he decided to make the switch from elementary teaching to high school. During the 2016-2017 school year, Mr. Braun was only working part time. This school year, 2017-2018, Mr. Braun is working as a full time teacher!

Just before working at DePaul Prep, he had spent the last three years teaching elementary students, so he was anxious to find out how high school teaching would go. His very first class was Pep Band, and he was pleasantly surprised at how respectful, kind, and engaged his students were– from there, things ran smoothly.

Mr. Braun’s biggest challenge has been developing a music program that meets the needs of the student body. According to Mr. Braun, some of our students are great performers, some are talented liturgical musicians, some are great music producers, some are awesome composers, and some have never had the chance to take a decent music class. Mr. Braun would like to develop classes that cater to all of these types of students and challenge them to become the best musicians they can be.

Mr. Braun’s proudest achievement was graduating summa cum laude from DePaul University’s School of Music. According to Mr. Braun, he tried his best to hone his skills as a musician and teacher throughout his college career, and is very excited to put his knowledge and skill to use as a teacher everyday. If he wasn’t working at DePaul Prep, he would most likely be in culinary school as he has developed a love for cooking over the last few years.

Mr. Braun’s advice for incoming students:

“Be ready to make class/rehearsal time useful, be ready to work hard, and be ready to grow as a musician– and be ready to have some fun!”

“Mr. Braun lets us put in ideas for the class.” – Parker Casey

“Mr. Braun is a very kind and genuine person, not to mention extremely talented. He works hard to produce music for school events and I think that’s very cool.” – Anonymous, a freshman

Mr. Bryant

Meet Mr. Bryant. Mr. Bryant was born in Aurora, but moved to the northeastern side of Indianapolis when he was young.

Mr. Bryant spent his early adult life training and pursuing work as an actor– part of that life meant that he had often had to move around and take a number of jobs in other towns. When Mr. Bryant finally decided he wanted to stay in one place, it was clear to him that teaching would be a good way to do it, so he went back to school to get his teaching certificate.

Mr. Bryant currently teaches English, Theater Arts/Drama, and is chair of the Performing Arts Department– he also directs the plays that are produced by the theater society. He began working here in 2012, a year after his student teaching.

His biggest challenge at DePaul is trying to convince people that there are other great works of theater besides musicals. On the other hand, his proudest achievements are producing two plays: The Boys Next Door and Is He Dead? According to Mr. Bryant, these two plays helped develop a theater culture at DePaul Prep, and the people who had seen it knew it had seen something special.

Mr. Bryant’s advice for incoming students:

“Come with an open mind, and don’t take yourself too seriously.”

“Mr. Bryant is super into the theater department and gives all the dcp kids a chance to learn about acting and puts on two really good plays a year that require a lot of extra time.” – Avery Downes, a sophomore 

“Mr. Bryant is very hardworking and nice. His productions are always amazing and he helps students improve their acting.” – Anonymous, a freshman











Although I could not include all the amazing and wonderful teachers at DePaul, here are some honorable mentions that either I could not get to or didn’t get to my email in time (haha).

Mr. Conlin:

“I really hated science before this year, I couldn’t understand it and I wasn’t doing my best. Here, I think it’s because of Mr. Conlin that I am improving. He’s an amazing teacher; great at explaining things and helping students out when they need to understand.” – Kennedy Hummons

“Mr. Conlin always answered our question to the best of his ability and put in a lot of extra time helping my freshman bio class outside of our class time.” – Avery Downes, a sophomore

“Mr. Conlin is a very good teacher, I appreciate all he does for my class. He really wants to help his students understand the material and gives us ways to improve our test grades. He spends a lot of time helping different students and is genuinely a terrific teacher to have. If it wasn’t for him spending so much time outside of class helping me study for a test, I probably would have failed all of them by now haha. I also like his way of teaching, he’s very thorough, detailed, and will answer a question if I have one.” – Anonymous, a freshman

Ms. Bidstrup:

“Ms. Bidstrup puts soooo much effort into fun games and activities for us to do instead of deskwork and understands that we need a lot of help and patience while learning a new language.” – Avery Downes, a sophomore

“Ms. Bidstrup is always offering extra help if anyone ever needs it which allows everyone to understand the Spanish concepts.” – Anonymous, a freshman

“I don’t have her as a teacher, but I’ve talked to her a few time and I’m sososo excited to have her as my spanish two teacher!” – Sabrina Nguyen, a freshman

Mr. Dwyer:

“He helped me big time on my first day. I had him first period and it was a great way to get a good start on the year. He’s super energetic, really wakes you up for the day and finds ways to make religion and history more interesting and fun. He also runs Black Student Union, another amazing and time consuming thing. He knows how to help out his students and be there when you need him. Super kind and super helpful.” – Kennedy Hummons, a freshman

“Very energetic, passionate about his job, and funny. He makes the community a better place.” – Anonymous, a junior

Ms. Orr:

“I absolutely love and adore Ms. Orr. She is the nicest person in the world. She’s always energetic, and ALWAYS saying hi to everyone that passes by her. She’s a fantastic person, very hardworking, and under appreciated. She is so positive and can brighten up anyone’s mood. Ms. Orr you are amazing!!” – Anonymous, a freshman

“She is always happy and works well with students.” – Parker Casey, a freshman

“I love being around Ms. Orr because she can instantly lift up my mood. She’s like a ball of sunshine.” – Anonymous, a junior

“She’s always super positive and super nice whenever I talk to her or see her in the halls! She’s also super funny and a great teacher.” – Sasha Goncharko, a freshman

I would also like to recognize:

  • The Quest workers for working hard to make the delicious food everyday, and for doing it with a kind smile (things get pretty crazy in the cafeteria, so thanks for putting up with us)
  • The individuals who make sure the school is clean and organized everyday, we really appreciate it
  • The individuals who work in the office all day who the students never really see— we know you’re hard at work to help us!

When I began writing this article, my day had been wild and I had no idea what to write at all. However, during a cold night in Chicago, sometime around 11 at night, I sat down with my dad and we began having a conversation about school. We soon got onto the topic of teachers, and this conversation gave me a new insight. Now, this is what my dad told me:

“Teachers sacrifice their lives students, even if it doesn’t seem like it. It is tough to be a teacher, you have to deal with all types of students, good and bad. But no matter what, you have to help them become good people by the time they grow up.

Teachers have to lead their students to be the right person; a teacher must have a lot of patience with the students. Teachers don’t do what they do to be rich or famous, because most teachers aren’t rich or famous. Kids come and go, and the teachers stay there, spending the rest of their lives teaching, maybe at a few different schools. And the thing is they still have challenges themselves while trying to help students with their challenges.

Some people give up on teaching and go on to do something else. They want to find a better job, one that pays more or gives more recognition. A teacher has to have passion for teaching, and a passion to stay teaching. During their careers of teaching, they still have to challenge themselves to get better.

I see that a lot of kids don’t understand their teachers; they will complain about how bad the teacher is, how mean they are, how hard they are, but when they grow up they will understand what the teacher did was to benefit them. Kids will go to school and when they graduate, they leave and never look back— never come back to thank their teachers for helping them get to where they are. Even if they only teach you for a year, or month, or week, students must always respect their. They don’t have to be a full time teacher, they could only teach one small thing, but it doesn’t make them less worthy of a student’s respect because they still dedicated their time to teaching.

As a parent, I rely on teachers to shape my children’s’ futures, so I will always respect them. [Here’s the part where I almost started tearing up] By the way, this is my daughter, Serena, she is a very lovely young lady. She will be in college soon, I just hope she does something good for her life, for her family, and for the people around her— I know she will. She is very smart and passionate about learning, I hope one day she makes it to the top. Whatever she does with her career, I know her teachers helped lead the way.”

As they say, a good teacher can teach a student, but a great teacher can make a student want to learn.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

The Student News Site of DePaul College Prep
DePaul Prep’s Ram-done Acts of Appreciation: Issue 2