My Roeper Story is about the indelible impact that Roeper had on my belief in my own potential.
Having only attended parochial institutions, I always dreamed of going to a school like Roeper and, in the fall of 2006, my dream came true. At first, I was taken just by the freedom of movement, ability to eat in class, and, most importantly, free dress. It took me about a year not to look utterly confused when people abruptly got up and walked out the room, and it was always a bit weird calling teachers by their first name. As I reflect on my time there, I still have a great appreciation for those things.
However, Roeper was surreal to me because of how it made me feel every day. As my parents noted, my daily happiness in that environment was palpable. I carried it in the morning getting ready for school, through the hallways at school, on the basketball court or field after school, and even when I was preparing for the next day. For the first time in my life, I was eager to be a part of such an incredible community.
Having worked in a variety of school and professional environments, I really appreciate my two years there and know my happiness was a result of being in a loving, generous community that challenged me to be myself. At Roeper, there was an endless supply of love and support, from teachers, students, parents, etc. And there was a consistent, genuine effort to give back to those who were less fortunate. The flow of unselfishness was amazing in its consistency, as it was the norm to hear people starting a homeless clothes drive or tutoring elementary students in the inner city.
But it didn’t stop there. The community valued open-mindedness, intellectualism, and creativity. For a young black man growing up in the inner city of Detroit, it encouraged me to broaden my horizons and, in so doing, showed me there was no limit to the impact I could make. I was encouraged by Dan Jacobs to help restart the debate team; I read and analyzed my first Shakespeare with Mary Kay; I witnessed my close friend balance being on the basketball team and performing in a play.
In just two years, the Roeper community left an indelible mark on my life. Now, as I prepare for a master’s degree in acting, perform in my first play (Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra), and run a tutoring business, I am eternally grateful for my time there because it still, and always will, mean a lot to me.
Edward Neville Ewell, Class of 2008