As a high school senior in 1969, Rosetta Robinson sat in the advisor’s office at A. G. Richardson High School and was told that she’d be lucky to attain a job any higher than a low-end vocational job. Back then, students were assigned one of four levels based on their perceived academic potential.
“When you got into those groups, you stayed in those groups,” Robinson said. “You could feel like you were less than you were.”
Robinson was put in the third level, just one spot from the bottom.
“That upset me. I got mad,” Robinson said. “I put out applications to various colleges.”
Robinson didn’t just go on to thrive in college – she graduated from Norfolk State University in 1974 – the longtime physical education teacher retired from Jouett Elementary School this past week as one of the most beloved and respected teachers in Louisa County.
“You can’t replace a Rosetta Robinson,” JES principal Michael Pelloni said. “She’s a leader here at Jouett elementary School. She has served as a teacher, a leader and a mentor to kids, adults and even to administration. She will be greatly missed.”
Robinson had two separate tenures in Louisa – at Louisa County High School from 1974 to 1978, and then Louisa County Middle School from 1998 to 2002 – followed by a twelve-year stint at JES.
Robinson’s path to a successful teaching career wasn’t just viewed as unlikely by past advisors, it was unforeseen by Robinson herself. Robinson went to NSU intent on graduating with a business degree, even dedicating almost all of her first semester to unaccredited prerequisite classes she would need for the field.
Once glance out of the window at a shining sun during a slow day in a shorthand class changed all of that.
“I saw people with their tennis outfits on, and I said, ‘This is not where I want to be,’” Robinson said. “Immediately when that second semester started, I went to the director of physical education and said, ‘I’m changing my major!’”
To read the entire story, see the June 5 edition of The Central Virginian.
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