Dorothy Bryant: Hall of Fame Profile

Dorothy Bryant, a 2015 Inductee in the TTHS Hall of Fame.

Dorothy Bryant, a 2015 Inductee in the TTHS Hall of Fame.

Dorothy Bryant ’66, an Inductee in the 2015 TTHS Hall of Fame joined the TTHS faculty in 1976 as a teacher of Social Sciences and coordinator of Cooperative Work Training. She was named department chair of Social Science in 1991 and house leader for Health and Human Services in 2002. Back in 1994, she coined the axiom “Wildcat Country.”

The Dorothy J. Bryant Leaders Scholarship, established in 2005, has obtained $9.3 million in college scholarships for Thornton graduates.

Dorothy holds a B.A. in History/Sociology from California State University (1970); as well as three Master’s degrees (Sociology/Psychology, Special Education and Education Administration).

On her retirement from TTHS in 2006, Dorothy founded Dorothy J. Bryant and Associates, a consortium of professionals consulting with proficiency in the area of professional development, public relations, marketing communication and research-based teaching.

Here is Dorothy’s story, in her own words:

It has been said that great teachers not only teach but they inspire. My journey was to inspire my students to become lifelong learners and to be contributing citizens to their community. By design, I became my students mentor and role model with a focus on changing the lives of individuals I came in contact with, including my own. Teaching and community service are mutually informing; I cannot imagine one without the other. I have dedicated my talents to educating students, parents and teachers; in addition to addressing the needs that exist in my community.

Teaching is more than transmitting knowledge; teaching is about inspiring others to discover their purpose and potential. I learned and practice this concept from my mentor and sister who is also a professor and clinical marriage and family therapist.

► Dorothy Bryant ’66 was a long-time member of the Thornton faculty, to be honored at Alumni Day, Friday, May 8. Learn more, make a donation, buy a ticket to the event.

As an educator, I was known as a creative risk taker. Colleagues have stated that I was ahead of my time in so many ways. As I look back, my cutting-edge, exploratory and innovative teaching techniques were a drastic change from the mind-numbing lecture format that I had come accustomed to while taking college courses. Engaging students in authentic learning activities, discussing personal application exercises, analyzing fascinating cases and collaborating on group projects as well as developing students’ interpersonal, communication, critical thinking and writing skills was the goal for true learning.

When seeing former students today, I often hear, “your class was one where I truly learned how to learn and apply knowledge”. “ I was so lucky to be a part of your exciting and real activities you required us to do. You would not let us fail because it would hurt your GPA.”

My teaching style brings students directly into issues of global concerns we face such as social justice and multiculturalism. In my work as an educator I address with students issues that make a difference. Students were led to find the commonalities among them while also remaining cautious not to deny or erase difference. By modeling commitment to genuine issues of our global world, I tried to inspire my students to do the same which would create a humane society.

A pivotal moment occurred in my teaching career occurred as I heard students describe their agonizing survival through courses in which they memorized insignificant details to regurgitate them on a test only to forget them. I vowed to assemble my courses in a way that would have a lasting, meaningful impact.

I have learned and continue to learn that it is important for all of us to live authentic lives of integrity in which we are truly ourselves. During the course of my career, I have tried to be a shining light in a sometimes dark world for students and teachers who have felt they cannot go on.

I have used my gifts of a delightful presence, warm personality and extremely effective teaching methods to impact everyone I encounter. As a student-centered, caring teacher, I have inspired and transformed thousands during the 38 years of providing instruction to students and leadership to my staff.

I am so very proud to say that I have followed in the footsteps of my parents, carrying on their legacy of scholarship and community service. In 2005, the Dorothy J. Bryant Leaders Scholarship was established at Thornton. I continue to serve the communities of the South Suburban area of Chicago through organizations such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. NAACP, UNCF, The Chicago Urban League, NCNW, Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., League of Women Voters, the National Action Network and Emily’s List by mentoring student, conducting voter registration drives, feeding the homeless and raising funds for student to continue their education.

The philosopher Francis Bacon stated and it best when he said, “Knowledge Is Power.”

After college, Mrs. Scott came to Chicago, working for 17 years as a teacher in Robbins School District 143, where she became the school’s first female gym teacher.

Later, she earned a Masters of Education from DePaul University and became principal of the Medgar Evers Upper Grade Center, District 169 in Ford Heights. From there, it was on to TTHS for the most  fulfilling opportunity of her career.

A little piece of her lives in every student with whom she came in contact.