McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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Humble through it all

Last month, teacher and coach John Beerbower won the award for coach of the region from the NHSSCA 
Carly Byer
Last month, Dr. John Beerbower, physical education instructor, was awarded the 2024 Regional Coach of the Year award by the National High School Strength Coaches Association for the Great Lakes region. Students and staff congratulated him in the weightlifting room on his inspiring win.

It is 8 a.m. on a Wednesday morning. A student is in the weight room at Upper Campus working out with their friends. They have had a rough past couple of days and have spent the morning in a bad mood. PE teacher and coach John Beerbower approaches the student. He gives them a fist bump, asks them how they are doing and tells them they are doing a great job today. As Beerbower walks away, for the first time in days, the students smiles.

Being a teacher at MCHS for over two decades now, John Beerbower has inspired students of all ages to achieve their dreams and goals.

Beginning his life in Kansas, Beerbower moved to central Illinois later in life. Beerbower says he has always been a bit of a farm boy and spent his life in rural, quiet areas.

Moving to McHenry later in his life with his family, his career at MCHS began.

“My wife became the head volleyball coach at Grayslake,” said Beerbower. “I didn’t know anything about the area I just drew a big circle around Grays Lake and a couple weeks later got hired at McHenry.”

Beerbower has always had a knack for high school Physical Education, as his former teachers immensely impacted him.

“I had some PE teachers that made a big impact on my life….those people really inspired me,” said Beerbower.

Through his connections with his high school teachers, Beerbower has used them as inspiration on how he teaches at MCHS. He looks at students as young adults who can have bad days. 

Students are much more than a person to grade to him.

“I think the way he connects and cares for his students is a lot different then other teachers..if you’re having a rough day he’ll chat with you and lend support if you need it,” said junior Jackie Huff.

From softball players, to power lifters, to students who are not athletes, Beerbower motivates anyone that walks into the strength room.

“I like beerbower because of the dedication he puts into the strength program and McHenry athletes,” said junior Baseball player Drake Floden. “He is one of the most positive people I’ve met.”

Beerbower continues to have an impact on students even after they graduate.

“I had Mr. Beerbower as a teacher for strength class and as a coach” said 2017 MCHS Alumni Alex Maras. “Once I graduated and moved onto college he continued to reach out to see how i was this day he wishes me a happy birthday each year.”

With all the support for him it is no wonder how he won this year’s coach of the year award for our region. Upon winning this award, Beerbower was honored.

“One of the organizations I’m a part of is called the National High School Strength Association….I was honored to be it [award winner] for our area,” said Beerbower. “That was a tremendous honor because I have a lot of friends and coaches in our region so to be recognized by them meant a lot to me.”

When Beerbower received the award he was reminded of the mission he strives for as a teacher. 

“I don’t think you set out to win awards, you just set out to do the best job you can and when your recognized it means a lot. If you focus on the right things good things happen,” said Beerbower.

For Beerbower and our school, it is not just an award. This is a reflection of the character of our humble gym teacher.

“Mr. Beerbower is a definition of the type of man that every boy strives to grow up to be. He without a single doubt deserves every award he has been given for his teacher and accomplishments,” said Maras. “These awards don’t come close to the gratitude that me and each of the students he has taught have for him being in our lives.”

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