For 40 years, they have shared Chandler teachers, uniforms, the school song, traditions like Boojum, the Sports-a-thon, and Substance X, and innumerable dinner conversations about their beloved school.
They have been students, alumni, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents of Chandler students, as well as trustees, room reps, class representatives, and alumni council members. This year, the youngest of the Berger clan, Grace Berger ’19, will graduate and join her sister, parents, aunt and cousins as a Chandler alumna. And, although times have changed, the school’s essence and values have remained.
“We chose Chandler for our daughter Karin because it felt like a safe, family environment with a good learning atmosphere and strong social component,” recalls Jay Berger. “The culture, community, and caring nature of the faculty and staff have remained the same.”
Karin Berger Stellar ’85 paved the way for her brother John ’88, who married a Chandler alumna, Jennifer Jackson Berger ’85. Both families sent their daughters to Chandler: Sofia ‘15 and Emma ‘17 Stellar, and Maddy ’16 and Grace ’19 Berger, who are all Chandler lifers. “What I appreciate most is that Chandler taught the girls how to succeed,” says Sean.
The girls all have benefitted from Chandler’s challenging academics and good relationships with caring faculty. “What we learned are long-lasting lessons,” says Maddy. “Chandler teachers are great at getting the students out of their comfort zone and getting them to thrive,” says John.
Meta, Jay’s wife, recalls that the children’s study habits are excellent; homework time was a pleasure at their house. “When they were younger, I’d bring my granddaughters home after school and they’d visit their great-grandmother Ruth (now 102) and play cards with her after their work was done.”
For Ruth, who has attended over 20 Grandparents Day events at Chandler, seeing the kids flourish at Chandler across multiple generations has been incredibly special. In addition to Grandparents Day, Ruth reflects, “I love going to all of the events, games, and performances. I love Chandler.”
So many teachers stood out, a list of favorites resembles a faculty directory. Karin recalls Mr. Hill encouraging her in performing arts, and Mr. Morrison igniting her love of history. Emma remembers that Mr. Anderson “made sports so much fun and always figured out how to get everyone interested.” Unanimous praise overflows for Ms. Williams-Moore’s leadership in music, Ms. Glista’s caring touch, and Mr. Korn’s inspiring science labs.
Over the decades, Chandler has benefitted from the Berger family’s willingness to get involved and generosity in supporting school initiatives. “We understand the school cannot grow on tuition alone, and we continue to contribute and hope to encourage others to do the same,” Jay says.
Jay and John both served on Chandler’s Board of Trustees. As a former Board President, Jay remarks, “I cherish all of the relationships that I made from fellow Board members, administration, faculty, staff, and parents. It was all so meaningful to me.” John, in addition to the Board, was a founding member and President of Chandler’s Alumni Council and has served in the vital role as co-chair of the Golf Classic. “Giving back is very important to us as a family,” says John. “We realize that philanthropy and volunteer service is important to strengthening an organization.”
Jennifer sums up, “We’ve made lifelong friendships at Chandler. The academics, the arts, technology, the campus – all of it is excellent. But, it’s the Chandler community that we value the most.”