York Avenue: Memories of Mrs. Roach

Throughout the course of the first semester, I wrote about my incredible experience at the North Penn School District in five posts. With the hopes of not only expressing my genuine appreciation for the education that I received, but also conveying how my K-12 experience helped me discover my passion for education, I mainly focused on broad subjects, such as York Avenue Elementary School as a whole or the NPHS staff collectively.

Within each of the five posts from last semester lie stories, and I think telling these stories will help convey how meaningful my experience as a student was. While this idea of storytelling might seem like I’m wandering from the idea of connecting each post to my passion for education, I can promise you that I’m not. Each story has stayed with me for a reason, and they remind me every day of why I am so passionate about education.

My blog format for this semester will follow the same outline as the last, but here’s a little reminder, since it’s been a while:

  • Post One: York Avenue Elementary School
  • Post Two: Penndale Middle School
  • Post Three: NPHS Classes, Clubs, and other opportunities
  • Post Four: NPHS Staff
  • Post Five: NPSD Organizations

With that said, it’s time for the first story from York Avenue. As an elementary school student, I was blessed with incredible teachers, like Mrs. Groth, Mr. Melchior, Mrs. Ferretti, Mrs. Roach, Miss Harper, Mrs. McGuire (I was lucky enough to have her two years in a row!), Mrs. Bryan, and so many more.

However, some of the most beautiful memories that I have from York Avenue are with Mrs. Roach, who was not only my third-grade teacher, but also a Penn State alum. In fact, one of her classroom management techniques involved her yelling, “WE ARE,” and the students responding with, “PENN STATE!” This was used to quiet the class down or get everyone back on task.

Mrs. Roach unfortunately passed away, but I think of her beautiful soul constantly. I think of how she would invite her sister, who we called Aunt Helen, into the classroom to bring us cookies from the bakery she worked at, how she was so passionate about the “Goin’ Buggy” play we put on, how she would brag about our class all of the time, how she sat us all down on the floor and explained some of the health issues she was having.

When Mrs. Roach passed away, an award, The Loli Roach Spirit Award, was created in her memory, and it would be given out at the sixth-grade awards ceremony by her family. When my time at York Avenue came to an end, I was fortunate enough to receive this award. I cherish the plaque with her picture on it and the crazy hat (She was known for wearing crazy hats, so this is a part of the award) that I was given.

As a third grader, I never imagined that I would be in the College of Education at Penn State yelling the same “WE ARE” chant that Mrs. Roach used in the classroom. Or that I would remember the red “Hot Seat” in her classroom that was used when a student was reading to the class. Or that I’d smile at the thought of the “Goin’ Buggy” play and all of the cute costumes we wore. Or that I’d recall the excitement I felt when Aunt Helen paid a visit. My memories of Mrs. Roach remind me of the beauty and lasting impression of a teacher.

One thought on “York Avenue: Memories of Mrs. Roach

  1. Taylor, I absolutely love this. Reading your blog made me momentarily reflect on my own elementary school experience. A story like this reminds me of the wonderful teachers I’ve had growing up, and the impact they’ve had on my life. Although you may not notice the impact when you’re just a bright-eyed, excited, young third-grader, it becomes really evident as you look back on your early school experiences. I like how your blog puts a large emphasis on the appreciation you have for the teachers who taught you early on. In my opinion, teaching is the most underpaid profession, because it is teachers who begin shape us into the people we become. But clearly, a teacher like Mrs. Roach didn’t teach for the money, she taught because she was passionate about it. Hearing a story about how her love and genuine excitement for education has influenced and even helped create your passion for education makes me so happy. I have three siblings, and two of them are teachers, and the other one is in school to become a teacher. I can confidently say that the reason they teach is for this exact purpose: to hopefully pass on their passion to some of their students and make a positive impact on their lives.
    I’m so sorry to hear that Mrs. Roach passed away, but it is so obvious that her joy and spirit lived on and will continue to live on in that school, and certainly in you as well. I thought it was so neat how you won the award that was created in her name. How special of a gift to receive, I’m sure you’ll look back on that even years from now and smile! Your passion for education is inspiring, and I really enjoyed on of your stories on how it began – I look forward to reading more!

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