Roeper School celebrates 75 years

By: Brendan Losinski | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 14, 2016

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BLOOMFIELD HILLS — The Roeper School, with campuses in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and the students and staff recognized this milestone with a day of activities Sept. 9.

The students and staff commemorated the milestone by gathering at the Bloomfield Hills campus, starting the day with an aerial drone photo of the entire 630-strong student body taken in the shape of  “75.”

They then listened to a recording of founder George Roeper telling one of his favorite stories, had lunch featuring meals from the many countries that Roeper students have resided in, and finished the day with “the cardboard challenge,” a schoolwide project where groups of students create something to help others using only cardboard materials.

The festivities are part of a yearlong celebration of the school and what makes it unique.

“This school was born from educational pioneers,” said David Feldman, Roeper’s head of school. “It was started by George and Annemarie Roeper, refugees from Nazi Germany. They understood the difference between power and justice, so it was very important to them to create a school where kids could discover who they are as individuals, but still learn they are an interdependent part of the world.”

The preschool through grade 12 school for gifted children was founded as a place to foster more alternative learning, where students have more of a voice and additional choices in their educational style. Educators there said they try not to lecture students, but instead work with students to collaboratively find answers to questions.

“My favorite thing about Roeper is the relationships,” remarked senior Joe Allen. “Having teachers always respond to your questions and having coaches be there for you both on and off the field make this place special, and that’s what kept me here for the last 13 years.”

Some of the students currently attending voiced their appreciation for this type of learning.

“I think Roeper is a community where you can be yourself, be an intellectual and be more than just a number to the school, which is how I felt  when I went to public school,” said senior Alison Albrecht. “You really get to be an individual here, and you have the freedom of choosing your classes and learning as fast or slow as you want.”

Feldman said he is proud of what the school stands for and attributes its longevity to sticking to the principles it was founded on.

“This school is a gem with a rich history,” said Feldman. “This is a place where students love learning and they enjoy coming to school. George Roeper said he wanted the students here to be students of the world, and we want southeast Michigan to be our classroom. Those are still our goals.”

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