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Beyond Letters: Zok (Jerry)

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

by Derrick Berry

I was ready for Jerry to hurt me. I was ready for him to disappoint me and let me down. He never did. I waited and waited and waited but it hasn’t happened. He gave me more than I expected each time that I pushed him and continues to show me that he has a unique voice that’s deserves to be heard.

Those who have the time and patience to listen will find that Jerry has an incredibly sharp wit that makes those around him both laugh and think. Once in class, when we were working on a project, I noticed him staring off in space, I asked “where are you?”, to which he looked me in the eye and replied “everywhere”. At that moment understood that he was both rooted firmly in the moment and far ahead of me at the same time. Whatever was happening in his brain did not need my interference, so I tipped my hat and moved on.

While Jerry will almost certainly never have the loudest voice in the room, it doesn’t mean that he will not be noticed. I was initially shocked to see videos of him on social media playing a set in front of a massive club audience, but it made sense. Everybody needs their outlet, and he was absolutely at home in behind a set of turntables, in front of a crowd of people. He found a niche that is electronic music and I hope that I help to play my part in helping him find one at our school.

Working in experiential education, I had often come across the Kurt Hahn quote, “There is more in us than we know if we could be made to see it: perhaps, for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less”. In Jerry, I would have settled for less but he didn’t let me. He showed that there was more in him that I could have ever known and I will not, and cannot forget it.

Our hope for this blog series is to share the stories that don’t make the cut for formal letters of recommendation and to arrive at the core of what makes a Dalton student extraordinary.


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