David VonEhr leaves a lasting legacy of passion and compassion


Saniya Mishra

VonEhr and his AP Chemistry class pose in front of the periodic table with Albert Einstein while decked out in lab safety gear.

Chemistry teachers David VonEhr and Russell Chudy are proud survivors of the Swine Flu epidemic.

They endured a time when the halls were emptier than they are now without the seniors. It was a time when a virus plagued our school, though not quite as severely as the more recent COVID-19 pandemic.

For a few days, many students stayed at home to avoid the sickness, and in triumph of surviving those few days, VonEhr joked that they should make “I Survived the Swine ‘09” shirts.

It is memories like these that will live on at FHC after VonEhr’s approaching retirement. But first and foremost, it is his character that always stuck with others.

Chudy has been working with VonEhr for 28 years now, and he recalls VonEhr’s profound impact.

“He has made more students and parents cry than I can keep count of—tears of joy,” Chudy said.

To all who knew him, he has been an immensely positive influence.

Chemistry teacher Jon Anderson has spent many years working alongside VonEhr. He credits much of VonEhr’s legacy to his passion.

“He’s an intense professional perfectionist,” Anderson said. “He puts his work on a high standard, has always been a leader and go-to resource for knowledge and information, helps drive practices, and encourages the rest of us to be better.”

It is this strong commitment that he is well known for, that allows many of his students to claim him as their favorite teacher.

His students find that his joy for chemistry in turn motivates them, too. Junior Berkleigh Blackport is in his AP Chemistry class, a two-hour block that allowed her to grow closer to VonEhr because of the extended time.

“He has a passion for [Chemistry],” Berkleigh said, “which is good because it helps you want to be able to understand it and enjoy it the way he would.”

His dedication to teaching has shone brightly. With it, so has his warm personality.

Truly, VonEhr exhibits unparalleled compassion, and he continues to be remembered for his kind heart.

He has a passion for [Chemistry], which is good because it helps you want to be able to understand it and enjoy it the way he would.

— Berkleigh Blackport

“He’s always very kind,” Chudy said. “He’s always very gentle. He’s always very soft with his words and concerned. Sometimes, overly concerned. Sometimes, he cares more about an issue that a student or parent is having than maybe they do. He’s very compassionate. And he will never let anyone down. He is always going the extra mile to make sure everyone is achieving their full potential, students and adults alike.”

Because of his amiability, VonEhr has had a wide-reaching impact on many. Throughout his 35 years of teaching, he has built many strong relationships.

Many alumni even come back to visit him. With all of these connections with various people throughout FHC, VonEhr will be missed. His classes, his friendly character, and his passionate teaching.

“He’s a really good teacher,” Berkleigh said. “I think a bunch of teachers are going to miss him, and a lot of students will miss him. I think the science department will be different [without him].”

With his influence on students and staff, VonEhr has left a grand legacy.

He is a one-of-a-kind teacher, and the FHC Science Department will not be the same, especially as such an integral regular is soon to leave.

“[I’m going to miss] that friendly face,” Anderson said. “You get used to seeing someone just, like, there. Kids think teachers live at school; I think Mr. VonEhr lives in that room.”

VonEhr has long been a part of this school, and along with Chudy, Berkleigh, and Anderson, all of FHC will miss him.

VonEhr himself will miss this school, too. Most of all, he will miss the students.

“You [students] make me feel young,” VonEhr said, “because you don’t change. Every year, my classroom stays the same age. So, if I don’t look at the mirror, I feel like I’m staying the same age, too.”

VonEhr enjoys seeing the students almost every day, especially their youthful energy.

He loves most of all witnessing students’ “aha” moments.

“When a student lights up, [when they] can see something for the first time,” VonEhr said, “that’s what I teach for.”

Though he is leaving behind his teaching days, the memories will always stay. Now, VonEhr plans to travel and take some time off.

Even with his plans changing, one thing is sure to stay the same. One thing that he can often be heard saying to his students.

“It’s a good day for chemistry,” VonEhr said.