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February 24, 2014

Roeper hosts viewing party for Olympian alumnus

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

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Roeper hosts viewing party for Olympian alumnus
The Roeper School hosted a viewing party Feb. 17 so the community could watch White, a 2005 Roeper graduate, compete with his partner.

BIRMINGHAM — All of metro Detroit was no doubt beaming with pride as two of their own, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, took to the ice to compete against ice dancers from around the globe in the Sochi Olympics Feb. 17.

But at The Roeper School in Birmingham, the feeling was more than just pride that morning — more like elation, according to Adam Smock, director of alumni relations. You see, White, of Bloomfield Hills, is a 2005 graduate of Roeper, and the school community gathered last week to watch their talented alumnus go for the gold with his long-time skating partner. Students, parents and teachers huddled in front of a projector in the school’s library to watch the duo in action.

“The tension was palpable,” said Smock. “One of the teachers had to leave the room to go get some pizza, they were so nervous.”

Several of the teachers watching the performance that day had taught White years ago, and they’ve followed his career as he and Davis, of West Bloomfield, made their way to the top. The group of about 40 sipped coffee, and munched on pizza and specially ordered Russian cookies and crackers, and waited to see how their hometown star would finish against the finest ice dancers in the world.

And then it happened. With cries of excitement and tears of joy, the small but mighty group of Roeper fans leapt out of their seats as it was announced that White and Davis, a Groves High School graduate, had won the gold medal.

Sure, the pair was representing the United States at the winter Olympics. But for those in the Birmingham-Bloomfield area, the win means so much more. The talented young skaters realized the dream they’ve worked so hard to achieve — and in the process, they brought the whole community along with them on their journey.

“Charlie’s so talented, and some people don’t even know what else he can do,” said Denita Banks-Sims, director of development at Roeper, in an email. “He played instruments like the violin, he sang in Roeper’s choir and he was a great hockey player. The thing is that he never boasted about these things; you would never know unless you actually saw it. He’s completely down to earth.”

According to Smock, Roeper is home to several notable alumni, including Fred Brown, a musician who plays with pop singer Bruno Mars. Members of the school community got together a few weeks ago to watch when Brown performed during the Super Bowl half-time show.

“The Roeper community celebrates the achievements of every member of our alumni. But to see a member of our family receive the global exposure Charlie is getting is special, and we want him to know how proud we are,” said Smock.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.