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DHS West teacher honored by former student

Jerome Nowak honored with scholarship

There is no greater gift a teacher can receive than to be remembered fondly by a former student. On Wednesday evening, February 8, 2017, the Downingtown Education Foundation (DCEF) announced such a gift - the creation of the Jerome Nowak scholarship for $5000, the gift of a former Downingtown High School student who wanted to remember his coach.     


Brett Gerry, the President of Boeing Japan graduated from Downingtown High School in 1989.   Mr. Gerry went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Colgate University, an M.A. in political science from Yale University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.  While a student at DHS, Mr. Gerry ran cross country track coached by current DHS West Tech Ed teacher Jerome Nowak.   


As Mr. Gerry moved on with his life, serving as an associate counsel to President Bush, an attorney for Goodwin Procter LLP, a law clerk at both the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States before moving on to Boeing, he remembered his favorite coach. 


In a letter read to the school board by DCEF Executive Director Jackie Fenn, Mr. Gerry wrote of his great respect and admiration for his former coach. "Coach Nowak was my cross-country coach for all four of my years in Downingtown," he wrote.  "We won two Ches-Mont titles and qualified for the Pennsylvania State Championships my senior year.  Coach Nowak was a terrific coach and mentor, with an understated style and smile.  He made us not only better athletes, but also, I believe, better people' both through his guidance and most often, through his example.  He taught everyone who ran for him the importance of perseverance, sportsmanship, decency and respect for others, and, above all else, humility.  I am supporting this scholarship both to commemorate the long career of a superb educator, but also to support the worthwhile cause of encouraging students to purse technical and vocational training after graduation.   I am convinced that it is a national priority to support the development of STEM."