My Roeper Story is about how Roeper is a one-of-a-kind school.
In 2005, leaving Bates Academy, a DPS middle school, and visiting Roeper, it was a shock not seeing uniforms and hearing kids call their teachers by their first names as they sat atop the lockers, eating pizza slices they got from a half-mile up the road. When Tom Hickey took me to his morning P.E. class with Ed Sack and my childhood friend Jon Parker was asleep on the metal bench, I was in love. The next four years were a whirlwind of cultural exposure and unavoidable intimacy, as I took the Woodward bus back and forth across the first segregated metropolitan area in the United States.
Early on, I convinced myself that I wouldn’t fit in because I was going to be “the black kid from DPS,” and the kids at Roeper were rich, snooty, white kids who drove Ferraris a whole mile to school and blew their noses in $5 bills, though this could not have been further from the truth. As a result, I tried desperately to keep to myself my first day of 9th grade, but my friends Lauren Walkiewicz and Tricia Haslinger weren’t having any of that. They walked up to me, made themselves known, and gave me a really warm welcome without any hesitation within my first three hours as a student, and that set the tone of the community for me.
The most vivid memories I have of Roeper are attached to those one-of-a-kind relationships we were destined to form, being a part of such a rich, close-knit community. I immediately called Ms. Haslinger when I lost my med school cousin Joey our freshman year of college; she didn’t care why I was calling her – she just picked up the call. I knew, whenever I was in Ann Arbor, I could call people like Ms. Walkiewicz if I ever needed a place to sleep. Thanks to Roeper, I didn’t have to hang out on 7 Mile after school; I could hang out with Ed and Ernie and run sprints until 8:30. My desire to minor in journalism was crafted by the hands of the ever-so-fabulous Linda Vernon and my diligent Tuna Talk editor for 2008, Mr. Hickey. I was also further reunited with some elementary school friends like Mr. Parker at Roeper – 7 years later and they have become more like older brothers. The people here are genuine, and they genuinely care about you as an autonomous structure of flesh, desire, and human experience. Through this paradigm, Roeper students, teachers, faculty, and staff helped me develop the confidence I needed to become the man I am today, and I am forever grateful for my time there, no matter how short.
HAPPY 75TH ROEPER! You don’t look a day over 40.
Terrence A. Way, Class of 2009, Notre Dame Law ‘18