Mr. Jeremy Rohrbach
Freshman year, one of the sparse freshman in a room full of sophomores, I was shy, I was quiet, I was scared, I was alone. Surely, I was alone – I didn’t know anyone. Surely I had to keep to myself and be sure not to disrupt everyone around me. Well, that was, until Mr. Jeremy Rohrbach convinced me otherwise.
When I was asked if I would like to participate in another year of teacher appreciation week, I ran through my schedule in my head – first hour, second hour, third hour, fourth hour and so forth – making a men8tal list of those who I really wanted to reach out to in gratitude. Then, I realized, among the wonderful men and women I encounter throughout my day, some teacher’s impacts last long past, and far outside the classroom, and that teacher is Mr. Rohrbach.
I wanted to take the time to thank you, for being someone who was always involved with his students, someone who took student’s well being into his own hands, someone who cared about his students. Everyday, I would walk into class, timid, and everyday I would walk out with a bit more confidence than I had 50 minutes prior. I didn’t notice in the moment, and even with years to come, it wasn’t always apparent the effect this teacher, and his compassion had on me.
Everyday in biology was nearly the same as the one before, with jokes between him and I, and the occasional song suggestion here and there (I got him interested in Twenty One Pilots, because I am pretty cool) – it was always the same in that it became a class I looked forward to, because of the uplifting, comfortable atmosphere he and Mrs. Maxwell were able to create.
My freshman year I was still singing, and I had a performance with a friend for which we had not practiced or rehearsed for. Naturally, the whole show was a mess- an absolute nightmare- and yet again the shy Emily Mann was mortified. But little did I know Mr. Rohrbach was there on his own time, as he volunteered and worked with the Megan Meier Foundation (how cool, right?) and came to remind me of my talent, and the love and support in that room, that there was nothing to be embarrassed about. To this day, I believe he has kept our secret, and never told anyone of the “most embarrassing moment of my life” and I never said thank you for that. Thank you.
Thank you for dedicating your life to reminding students of the love and support in the world, that there is always a bright side. Always something to smile about. Over the past four years everytime I pass by Mr. Rohrbach in the halls, he reminds me “Smile, Emily” and what started as a silly everyday occurance became a daily reminder to always smile.
I never understood why he was so persistent, and some days – the bad days – the last thing I wanted to do was smile. But even still he reminded me to do just that, and now without his reminder if I see him I naturally smile and wave, and that is one of the biggest clearest images of self growth I’ve experienced in my four years of highschool.
To see myself go from a shy, quiet girl, to someone who is much more outgoing, confident, and optimistic is something I will cherish in years to come.
Thought you weren’t present in everyday over my highschool career, your reminder will always resonate with me, and I will never forget to smile. Thank you for that.