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Eric Rosenthal–making a difference outside the classroom

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Eric Rosenthal–making a difference outside the classroom

Eric Rosenthal poses in his woodshop. Rosenthal is a respected educator who consistently challenges his students to be their best.

Eric Rosenthal poses in his woodshop. Rosenthal is a respected educator who consistently challenges his students to be their best.

by Shani Vasquez

Eric Rosenthal poses in his woodshop. Rosenthal is a respected educator who consistently challenges his students to be their best.

by Shani Vasquez

by Shani Vasquez

Eric Rosenthal poses in his woodshop. Rosenthal is a respected educator who consistently challenges his students to be their best.

Eric Booth, Op-Ed editor

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Many students in Hillsborough High School may never get the opportunity to see a teacher outside of the classroom, let alone interact with him or her. However, there are staff members who have made it their mission to make a positive impact on students’ lives, even outside the classroom.

To most students,  Eric Rosenthal may only be known as a woodshop teacher, but a select few students have a deeper bond with him that extends past the halls of HHS.

Rosenthal is the head of the boys cross country and track teams where he has had success leading the Raider Runners.

But along with coaching, Rosenthal has committed himself to giving graduating seniors  incredible outdoor experiences through backpacking and rock climbing trips. The most exclusive expedition Rosenthal heads is a trek through the Shenandoah Valley National Forest in Virginia.

Through a selective process that requires seniors to apply and interview, four boys and four girls are chosen to embark on the adventure.

Rosenthal and physical education teacher Vincent Coviello lead the journey which consists of hiking for four days and three nights on the remote Old Rag Mountain trail. Each student is equipped with a backpack full of camping supplies and provisions, weighing between 40-60 lbs. Days on the trail consist of walking between six to eight miles while carrying all necessary equipment.

The excursion is challenging for students, both physically and mentally, and works to develop wilderness education.

Senior Sean McGrath met Rosenthal through cross country, but is also apart of the student team accompanying Rosenthal and Coviello on the adventure.

“Mr. Rosenthal inspires you to be who you are,” McGrath said. “He pushes you to take chances in life worth taking and to go experience the world and the different people in it.”

Posing as role model is a trait that Rosenthal demonstrates heavily in his life for all of his students.

“Many students look to teachers and coaches as they enter into their mid teens and drift away from parental influences,” Rosenthal said. “So much of their life is dictated by their parents and there is seemingly a lot of friction between teens and their parents, so it is critical that there are teachers and coaches that our students can trust and rely on.”

Rosenthal prides himself on giving once in a lifetime experiences to those who may never have such opportunities. Going out of his way to touch lives, even while not on the clock in the classroom, is part of the reason why Rosenthal has made such an impact students’ lives.

Senior Nicole Wasylak has known Rosenthal for much of her high school career and has applied to embark on the trip to Virginia. Wasylak is grateful for Rosenthal’s character and has seen first hand the length he has gone to change a student’s outlook on life.

“Mr. Rosenthal makes a difference outside of the classroom through his continuous outdoor endeavors that help teach students the importance of experiencing nature firsthand,” Wasylak said. “It shows students how humbling it is to witness the great outdoors, swapping walls for the sky and screens for fresh air. His love for arduous activities exemplifies just how much one can learn from experiencing new adventures.”

Rosenthal is a teacher who does not stop teaching once the bell rings. Students bare witness to the  lessons he preaches and the character he demonstrates inside and outside the building every day. By constantly testing and challenging kids to push pass their limits, Rosenthal lets people know the possibilities of success are endless. 

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Eric Rosenthal–making a difference outside the classroom