Harris’s memory takes wing in Dobie garden

Harris’s memory takes wing in Dobie butterfly garden
Posted on 03/26/2019
This is the image for the news article titled Harris’s memory takes wing in Dobie butterfly garden By: Jade Wise
Pasadena ISD Communication

In a small butterfly garden located on the Southbluff side of J. Frank Dobie High School, the name and legacy of one of the campus’ most beloved teachers will now be remembered for generations to come. 

Barry Harris, an English teacher at Dobie for over 20 years passed away on June 22, 2018, following a long battle with cancer. 

“Barry was one of those people that you would immediately become a fan of from the moment you came in contact with him because of his personality, humor, honesty and fun-loving nature,” said Dobie Principal Franklin Moses.

A science teacher and longtime friend of Harris, Tracy Wheatly, brought the idea of naming the garden the “Barry Harris Butterfly Garden” to campus administrators.  

“Last summer the garden was partially destroyed and I jokingly said that it would not have happened if Barry was watching over it,” said Wheatley. “Ultimately we realized that maybe he needs to be here watching over this garden and that every butterfly that emerges will hopefully carry on his memory and legacy.”

The garden now features an assortment of flowers, plants, caterpillars, monarch butterflies and a commemorative bench built by Dobie math teacher Tucker Smith.

Wheatly said that when she first started her career at Dobie, she taught in the same portables as Harris and that a running joke between the two was the inspiration for the garden.

“In the mornings, it would be a race to find a parking space close to the building and he would always end up beating me to the last parking space,” said Wheatly. “I would tell him that he needed to slow down and smell the flowers.”

The campus recently held a dedication ceremony in the garden where dozens of students, staff and family members came together to reflect on their memories of Harris and his impact on the campus.

“I miss my friend,” said Shane Brown, Dobie CTE teacher and former girls’ basketball head coach. “I’m sad that he is not here and that there are people who will come to Dobie and not have the opportunity to know Barry.”

Principal Moses added, “This memorial gives us something to always remember him by and it will give us opportunities for conversations with future Dobie students and staff about a man named Barry Harris and his tremendous impact on our campus.” 

Also in attendance were Harris’ sister Debora Daughtry, nephew Demarques Daughtry, god-sister Denis Wanza and cousin Linda Hatton. 

“I want to thank all of you for loving Barry the way we love him and sharing him with us,” said Daughtry. “Butterflies are a symbol of life and as we celebrate Barry’s life, I know that if he were here today, he would wish everyone a life of love, peace, happiness and freedom. He was a man that truly loved people and he showed it every day through his work and the way he treated others.” 

Dobie Butterfly Garden Group photo
(Back Row, L to R): Wendy Sharpless, DHS Choir Director; Demarques Daughtry, Harris' nephew; Tucker Smith, DHS Math Teacher.  (Front Row, L to R): Franklin Moses, DHS Principal; Linda Hatton, Harris' cousin;  Debora Daughtry, Harris’ sister; Denise Wanza, Harris' god-sister; Tracy Wheatley, DHS Science Teacher

Caterpillar in the new garden
One of the caterpillars in the Barry Harris Butterfly Garden has quickly found a new home before transforming into a butterfly.

Flower Collage
The garden at the Barry Harris Butterfly Garden features a variety of plants and flowers that are currently in bloom.