In Tribute: Annemarie Roeper (1918-2012)
“I have been comfortable in the cocoon and now the point has come that
I need to break through it and wonder how that will happen.”
Beyond Old Age (Roeper, 2011)
Photo used by permission of The Roeper School
by Joy Navan
Our dear friend and mentor, Annemarie, broke through her cocoon on Friday, May 11, 2012. She leaves with us the gift of knowing and learning from her, a joyous celebration of her life and, most importantly, an understanding of the soul of giftedness as it reveals itself in the emotional and spiritual lives of the children we have the honor to behold. With her husband, George, she founded The Roeper School for the gifted and Roeper Review, the exemplary journal of gifted studies. She developed the Annemarie Roeper Qualitative Assessment Method®, which enables the practitioner to understand all of the facets of the gifted child, including emotional giftedness. She published hundreds of articles and several books about gifted children and her own gifted journey. Annemarie comes from a family of distinguished educators who escaped the persecution of Nazi Germany and she immigrated here with her family as a young woman. One of the details of her life that she took much pride in is that several generations of her family are now Americans, including great grandchildren.
Visiting her earlier this spring, I was struck by her continued alacrity and humor, despite what she described as the widening discrepancy between her mind and her body. Even as she weakened, she continued to contribute, publishing a book at 92 and contributing to a history of Roeper School. She most recently was working on a book about her childhood in Germany. She shared with me how fortunate she was to grow up wrapped in the cocoon of love at her parents’ school at Marineau and how she and George had endeavored to create the same dedication to universal respect and human dignity at Roeper School. From the outpouring of tributes from alumni, teachers, and students at the school, it is clearly evident that they achieved their mission and that their legacy will continue in the lives of those that they touched.
In her book, Educating Children for Life, Annemarie wrote that “Humanity has made two promises to its children. The first is to prepare a world which accepts them and provides them with opportunities to live, grow, and create in safety. The other is to help them develop their whole beings to the fullest in every respect.” Pondering lessons learned from Annemarie when she prepared me to be a Qualitative Assessment practitioner, I remember her mandate, “The only agenda is the soul of the child.” It is with tremendous gratitude for her life and her work that the gifted community remembers Annemarie, the soul of giftedness.
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Joy Navan, PhD, is a professor emeritus of Murray State University and president of Navan Consultation Services, LLC. She provides services in Spanish and English to gifted children and their families through assessments, SENG Model Parent Discussion Groups, professional development and educational planning. She is a member of the SENG Board of Directors.