Good teachers do more than guide us through our lessons and prepare us for standardized tests. They inspire us to love their subjects and to love learning all our lives. And the best teachers? They’re the ones like Dan Horyn.
Horyn taught, inspired and cared, offering support to students who were struggling in their personal lives and prompting several to assert that he saved their lives. As so many of the condolence messages shared online indicate, he was more than a teacher to the students who passed through his doors – he was a mentor and a friend, too.
The English teacher and track and cross country coach was only 34 years old when he died of esophageal cancer this week. But in his short time on earth, he left a mark that will long outlive him. In her story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Maureen O’Donnell quotes a message shared by a student on an online memorial page for Horyn:
“I know we’re all struggling to understand why bad things happen to good people, but I think we’re missing the big picture. Mr. Horyn’s legacy isn’t in the cross-country records, or the funny pictures he took . . .”
“His legacy is us.”