For many teachers in Duval
County, Gilchrist Berg is their greatest champion.
His support has impacted
hundreds of lives over the past two decades, and his investment in education
continues to inspire.
In fact, 100 teachers have
received Gladys Roddenberry Graduate Fellowships for Teaching Excellence,
funded by Berg. The fellowships provide outstanding teachers with opportunities
to continue to develop in their field through $5,000 awards for graduate school
Ninety-six percent of the
award recipients have stayed in education throughout their careers.
Not only has Berg helped
teachers further their education, but each year, he provides gifts to honor
educators for lifelong careers inspiring students. The Gladys Prior Awards for
Career Teaching Excellence go to four local teachers each spring. The
unsuspecting teachers are typically surprised in their classrooms surrounded by
their proud students. Not only is the award a great honor, each teacher
Both awards are
particularly meaningful because they are named for two of Berg’s teachers
during his grade school years at Ortega Elementary. “The teachers inspired him,
and you can tell by what he is doing for all of us that they continue to
inspire him,” said Patrice Haupt, who received the Gladys Prior Award last
Like all former award
winners who have benefitted from his generosity, Haupt, an AP literature and composition instructor at Paxon School for Advanced Studies,
is still moved by Berg’s generosity and his commitment to education. “This is a
profession of passion for us, and he recognizes that,” said Haupt, commenting
that it gives other teachers an opportunity to see that the work of teachers
doesn’t go unnoticed.
“It is meaningful to all
of us to have someone say ‘I appreciate you and what you do matters,’ not
because of numbers on a data sheet but because of the impact you have on
Berg’s investment in
education has been significant, but for teachers like Haupt, who give so much,
the recognition and appreciation is just as rewarding.