In 1929, the main dormitory, which housed seventy-five boys, of the Berry Schools burnt down. This letter, which was written in June, asks for money to be donated toward the rebuilding of the dormitory, which must be completed before the term starts on September 1st. By taking note of her signature, the reader can tell that Martha Berry knows the full gravity of the situation. Daily, she sees that these boys, most of whom came from an underprivileged background, are so eager to learn. Many of them made big sacrifices to go to school. Martha Berry is aware of how much it means to them. In fact, it is her mission. In this letter, she says “to fail these boys… would be a great calamity.” It is apparent that she wants her audience to feel the same way she does about the importance of a good education.
This says a lot about how Berry and education in general have changed over the years. Almost no one who goes to this school now makes such significant sacrifices compared to that of the students and their families in the past. Most students here are not impoverished like the original mountain children. If a dorm were to burn down, the people might expect it to be rebuilt before the next semester. People in first world countries treat education more as a right than a privilege. And while it is a wonderful thing to have such readily available resources, one must remember that not everyone is as fortunate. Appreciating the gifts you are given by giving to others is a way to honor those who have worked so hard to give you the education you have.