Honoring Dr. Daher

Dr. Michael Daher handing an award to a student
Dr. Daher handing award to a student. Photo courtesy Dr. Laura Yeakel

Two weeks ago, I was looking for something in my basement. I found an old assignment I kept from Dr. Daher’s class; it was one of the only papers he assigned in person, as COVID-19 caused us to transition to online school. We had to write about The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. One theme in the book is life after losing a loved one, and thinking about that saddens me. A few days after finding this old essay, I read the details of Dr. Daher’s memorial on the school’s website. Immediately, shock consumed my being, and I could not move for a moment. I mean, I was smiling at the notes he left on my work a mere few days earlier.

Dr. Daher is someone I repeatedly talk about because he was a phenomenal instructor. Writing is my passion, and I cherish the great teachers that come along. He was reassuring and respectfully corrected me when needed. I enjoyed going to his lectures because he didn’t teach generically. Instead, Dr. Daher shared his life experiences when they related to a lesson. I genuinely listened to everything he expressed, and I could tell he appreciated it.

I was flattered whenever he asked me to share my thoughts for the class discussions. He always seemed interested in what I had to say. He gave everyone a chance to speak. I found myself missing our in-person classes when the pandemic began. Just two and a half weeks into the semester and then he became ill. Fortunately, he returned a few days before mid-winter break.

Toward the end of the semester, the class had to go virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were no more in-person discussions, which was my favorite part of his class. He emailed us every assignment and continued to be a helping hand whenever he could. Dr. Daher ensured that I understood everything when I needed clarification. Also, I loved that everything he assigned triggered critical thinking. He encouraged me to dig deeper when I only touched the surface of a topic. For example, when I analyzed a chapter from Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, he proposed ideas that I didn’t think of, and that is what I admire the most about any teacher. Push me! Aid me to betterment! That is what Dr. Daher did, and I am forever grateful.

I will unceasingly honor Dr. Daher.