Stephanie Rottmayer knows how to make every person at SYC feel special – because to Stephanie, every person at SYC is special.
The child hiding behind his mom’s legs as he enters to building knows he’s special because Stephanie waits until he’s ready – and it may take all year – until she acknowledges him.
The mom who is worried about leaving her crying child knows she’s special because Stephanie offers her a hug and a listening ear, and some reassurance that the teachers will take good care of her child.
The dad who is unsure about how to handle a playground conflict knows he’s special because Stephanie listens carefully to his worries, helps him define the problem, and encourages him to increase communication with the other parents even though it’s hard.
The teacher who wants to try something new, or who isn’t sure how to help a struggling child knows they’re special because Stephanie takes the time first to listen as they talk through their thoughts and then to share the wisdom of her experience.
The child screaming in the hall knows she’s special because Stephanie sits quietly by her side totally comfortable with the child’s big feelings and never rushing her through them, but ready with a hug or a note or a listening ear if/when the child is ready.
The teacher who knows she’s special because Stephanie was so nurturing and encouraging when she was a thinking about becoming a teacher even though wasn’t sure she could do it. Stephanie was her rock all through her years at SYC as a parent and teacher.
The parent who knows she’s special because Stephanie helped her when her son fell apart in the entryway and face planted himself in the carpet screaming and refusing to move. Stephanie sat on the bench to be close to her son, and told him she was there for him and he was safe and that the parent she could go take care of herself. Such beautiful compassion for both of them, and remembered in difficult moments always.
The parent who knows she is special because Stephanie was always waiting on the bench when she came in. She always welcomed us every day – loved that.
For 40 years, the children, parents and staff at SYC have been blessed by knowing that they are special because Stephanie believes that they are. Every person who walks through the SYC doors and sees Stephanie sitting on the bench knows that she is truly glad to see them and that they are welcome here.
That specialness stays with us in our lives outside of and after SYC, and is one of the many legacies Stephanie leaves behind as she retires from SYC.
We will miss her and will welcome her (hopefully!) frequent visits as we carry on, making sure that everyone who comes into our school knows just how special they are.
…Susan Roscigno & Amy Rudawsky