“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts,” was once said by author C.S. Lewis (“Teacher Quotes”). This is the philosophy that Mr. Brendan Murray, a History Teacher at West Wilkes High School, enforces in his classroom. Mr. Murray has taught at West High for three years, where he also coaches Cross Country and Track and Field. When students walk out of his classroom or off of the track, they have been awakened by a new hunger to learn about the history of the world around them and to strive to achieve what others think is impossible. Due to his childhood and young adult experiences, Mr. Murray is able to approach his students and athletes with an enthusiasm and passion that causes them to become more engaged, and willing to push themselves beyond their own expectations.
Mr. Murray was born in Durham, North Carolina. At the result of his father’s career, Mr. Murray and his family, moved to England when he was three years old.
“Despite the fact that I was young at the time, I still remember getting to go to London and Paris; even then I was amazed by these cities.”
It is easily seen that Mr. Murray’s love for geography and appreciation for history has been evident throughout his life. As Murray talked about getting to see these magnificent cities, his face lit up, and an enthusiastic smile flashed across his face, which made it inevitable for anyone to dispute his passion for history. Upon returning to the States, Murray was five years old, but his traveling experiences were far from over. Since being back in the U.S., Murray has visited almost all of the fifty states, lived in Canada for a short time, studied abroad in Germany, and has even been to most of the major history land marks that he teaches his students about.
“I find my traveling experiences to be very helpful in the classroom,” says Murray. “When I am able to describe how it felt to witness the Gettysburg Battlefield, the Roman Coliseum, and the Jewish Concentration Camps, my students feel the connection as well, instead of just looking at a picture that has not meaning to them.”
While speaking Murray scans the room. The walls in his classroom are covered with eight box stories, honors projects, and propaganda posters. Looks of pride and satisfaction sweep over his face, as if he is remembering each student and how proud they were of their work.
Many students have testified that the passion Mr. Murray puts into each and every lesson has helped them to engage in what he is saying.
“I did not just learn the material for the tests in Mr. Murray’s class, I still remember the facts and stories, due to the interactive lessons, where we not only heard the material, but we got to experience it.” said Senior Lauren Wentz.
The zeal that Mr. Murray portrays while teaching is a trait he picked up from his high school English teacher, he is also the person who inspired Murray to pursue teaching.
“When he would step in front of the classroom, I...