Mia Mecleary appreciates Mr. Michael Barry , a teacher at CONESTOGA SHS in Berwyn , PA

Thirty-eight years ago, I graduated from Conestoga High School in Berwyn, PA. In 10th grade, my family had a crisis, and I was abruptly moved from my childhood home to another school district with my custodial Dad. I started at Conestoga, not knowing a single soul. It is one of the best high schools in the country, and I was emotionally and mentally struggling. I felt isolated, and my grades plummeted. I frankly didn’t care. I was tested by the HS and was placed with a support teacher for tests taking or when I needed to leave class because I couldn’t take the pressure. That support teacher was Mr. Michael Barry (retired). Mr. Barry not only built my confidence academically, but I was really on a downward spiral emotionally. Cutting classes, skipping school, just disconnected because my home life was so much in turmoil. Mr. Barry tutored me back to good grades but was a listening ear to my struggles. He never judged me. He never became angry when I lied or dug myself deeper in a hole. I guess what I am saying is he never left me. My mother died unexpectedly from addiction in 12th grade. Honestly, it is a blur how I made it thru school, graduation if it not were for him, that safety net, friends, and family. He continued to tutor me to graduation. Much to my surprise, I was accepted into college, and I contacted him again to tutor me, which he did. I graduated and landed a job about 2 hours north of Conestoga. I am a COO for an organization for 25 years. My first job was in accounting for a construction company for 10 years. My youngest son is a first-year teacher at a charter school. I really don’t have any words other than to say, I would NEVER have made it without you. I NEVER would be where I am today WITHOUT your guidance and care. My heart is full that my son is a teacher. He knows my story. He is kind like you. I know you are retired, and I hope living your best life. I cannot tell you how many times I think of you, those tumultuous times in my life, and feel blessed that you were there for me. Thank you again. Class of ‘83

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