During assembly on Monday, March 9, Andy Abbott named Julie and Daniel Harris honorary JBS alums. The timing is related to Mrs. Harris' all-too-soon departure from Burroughs to take the helm at The Biome School in the Central West End. But the reasons for this honor were built over the last 25 years. After assembly, there was a brief reception on stage. Guests included friends, family and former faculty. Here is a summary of Mr. Abbott's remarks:
Mrs. Harris came to Burroughs in 1995 as a math teacher. That year, Mr. Harris was invited to come to Burroughs as a consultant to help us identify things that we could do to improve the experience for students of color. He went to Dr. Shahan [then head of JBS] to give his findings, and Dr. Shahan asked, 'Would you stay and implement the changes that you recommend?' Mr. Harris became one of the first directors of diversity in this region and has developed a program that has become a national model. Since Mr. Harris's arrival, the students of color at Burroughs have risen from about 15 percent to more than 40 percent of our student body. I feel absolutely confident in saying that every single student—of every race, gender, ethnicity—has had their lives touched by one of these two people.
Every fall, we celebrate an alum who has made great contributions to Burroughs with the Distinguished Service Award. There is, of course, no award for those who have served the school so well but who are not alums.
However, over the years, the school has shown its appreciation for a handful of people who made remarkable contributions to the school with honorary degrees, including Leonard Haertter (1973), Ed (1986) and Jane (1980) Cissel, and Jim and Carole Lemen (2012)
This is not an exhaustive list of all that Mr. and Mrs. Harris have done at Burroughs, but I want to say that between the two of them they have:
Taught every level of math
Created our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program
Started the Diversity Seminar
Served as a department chair
Held the Haertter Chair in Math
Had hundreds of students who earned 5s on AP exam
Taught African American History
Spent 50 nights at Drey Land
Knows every new student the first week they are here
Taught cultural competency to nearly half of the current teachers in the school, and done evaluations on many of them
Won state championships in both boys and girls track
Interviewed 100s of students and sat on the school's admission committee that admitted every student in the room
Overseen the 8th grade Community Service Week
Created affinity groups at Burroughs
Built the design thinking program for 8th graders
Supported the ALS program for 7th graders
Was named a Missouri State Coach of the Year
Created The Equity Exchange
Raised two of the finest students the school has ever had
Today, I am happy to say that I have been empowered by the Alumni Board to bestow diplomas to Daniel and Julie Harris.
They will be members of the class of 2020!