The art of teaching

Ellie Koechner

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Jon Berger’s far and away prize was the passion of art.

Berger is a graduate of Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City, Iowa, which led him to become an art professor at Mount Mercy University, as well as a freelance graphic designer. Staying close to his Catholic roots, he now teaches classes such as Video Production FX and Graphic Design here at Xavier. 

Traveling has been one of the biggest aspects to his development of being an artist, giving him the opportunity to be where he is today. 

“I became enthralled by video art during my high school senior trip to Washington D.C., when I spent all my time in the Hirshhorn Art Museum’s The Cinema Effect exhibition watching bizarre videos in pitch black rooms. I’ve traveled to Berlin, Budapest, Prague and other places to visit other artists and drink in all art has to offer. I love breaking rules, analyzing things to death and creating absurd artworks. Art is a way of thinking, not a thing,” Berger said. 

While sharing his passion was a top priority, sharing his faith was his main priority, leading him to Xavier. 

“I decided to come to Xavier because whether you believe it or not, Catholic school education provides students with opportunities to delve into important topics often not brought up in other places. I’m pretty dang Catholic too, it’s a big part of my identity and adds a distinct flavor to my daily life. I want to share that with students and let them share that with me,” Berger said. 

Junior Kassidy Drish has always had an interest in creating, so when she saw the opportunity this year, she took it. 

“I took an interest in his videography class right when it became available. He makes the class so fun, I get to learn so much about videography that I didn’t know before. I can really tell he loves what he does, it shows each day in class,” Drish said.

Berger had a big first year, as his class recently led the Stations of the Cross video project for Xavier, being a huge help to the Campus Ministry team. 

“We were extremely grateful to Mr. Berger and his video productions class for putting together the Stations of the Cross this year. There is something special about giving ownership to students in the creation of such an important piece to Holy Week and they did a great job,” Richmond said. 

Through Berger did a lot as a first year teacher at Xavier, he has even bigger plans for the future. 

“A big future plan I have for the Video FX class is to have students plan and produce their own short films with the goal of submitting them to the All American High School Film Festival,” Berger said. 

While being an artist and sharing what he does with his community, he finds it especially rewarding that he is able to share it with his students. 

“This might sound like a cliché, but the students are what I enjoy most. I am an artist and have exhibited my artwork all over the world, but there is little I enjoy more than sharing my passion with students and having the honor of being present for a student’s art making experience,” Berger said

Mr. Berger will continue to provide opportunities for studentsand inspire them to make art..