"we jump to conclusions so you don't have to"

The staff of the EqOnion would like to extend its condolences to the family of Philip Roos. Mr. Roos was a beloved math teacher at Hempstead for over 30 years. His impact was felt throughout the building and his outstanding character, personality, and care for his students shown through on a daily basis. Well-known for his involvement with the tennis team and intramurals, Roos touched the lives of countless numbers of students and staff members. He will forever be remembered as a wonderful teacher, coach, colleague, husband, father, and friend.

Mr. Roos Reflections

Everything already mentioned is everything I feel about Mr. Roos. He was an inspiration and one of the most positive people I've ever met. He used to give me left over ribbons from intramurals that didn't have the full number of participants so I never went home empty handed. Because of that, my car is full of ribbons I never really won, but he made me feel awesome about coming to intramurals, win or lose. Mr. Roos was a great person to talk to and will be greatly missed by myself and everyone who ever had the honor of knowing him.

- Amy Engling

I have no recollection of Mr. Roos before my sophomore year of high school, unfortunately. I'm sure I saw him in the halls and it is very likely that I'd seen him on the tennis courts, but I don't remember it. Mr. Roos was the kind of man you might not notice in passing, but he was one you would never forget if the two of you exchanged words. While his outward appearance was nothing too memorable it was a clever disguise for the mind that dwelled within.

Sometime during the course of my sophomore year I had a few brief conversations with Mr. Roos. We spoke mostly of small things pertaining to tennis, such as the cold or rain and the inevitable wind on our courts. But never being one to complain, Mr. Roos pointed out that once a tennis player learned to hit a good solid shot, no amount of wind was going to matter to their game.

And just like that small bit of advice, Mr. Roos always had something to say to anyone who would listen - and that should have been everyone. He was never shy about offering advice (that was good) or an opinion (that was respected) on any subject from tennis to school to future plans. He brought a level of dignity and respect to the sport of tennis that can only be dreamed of by many other teams and envied by other coaches and players. While I only saw a few of his practices, I knew that he had everyone's full attention from the moment practice began until well after it ended. His players learned skills and strategy from him throughout their practices and dedication and discipline from him throughout their seasons on the team.

Ask anyone Mr. Roos coached, taught, or worked with and they will tell you how much respect they have for him. It is because of the respect that others had for Mr. Roos that makes his absence so noticeably upsetting. And while I didn't know him as well as so many others did, his untimely death makes me sad because I know how many lives he won't get to touch. So many tennis players (my younger brothers included) will step on and off the courts at Hempstead and may never have the respect for the game of tennis or their team that Mr. Roos would have taught them. It is all of his family members, his players (past, present, and those who never got to play for him), his colleagues, and his friends that I grieve for. Their world is now missing a very special and influential man. We will miss you, Mr. Roos. But you will never be forgotten

- Lauren Liaboe

As a colleague of Mr. Roos, I had the opportunity to share many conversations with him. What I will always remember about Mr. Roos was the positive approach he took to all aspects of teaching and life. He was truly dedicated to the lives of his students and genuinely cared about each and every student here at Hempstead. Always looking at the bright side, he would keep the interests of Hempstead and its students in mind everyday, as witnessed by his coming back out of retirement to teach part time in the Math department to again help students. At teacher inservice meetings, Mr. Roos would often start of the meeting with a witty, light hearted joke to make the meetings a little more fun. If there is one way to keep Mr Roos' spirit alive in myself, it would be to always take the most positve approach to all situations and to treat all people with the dignity and respect that Mr. Roos showed to all people.

- Mr. Parkin

Like many students, my first contact with Mr. Roos came in at numerous intramural competitions throughout the past couple of years. Itís very comforting to walk into the gym, look down on the court, and see a spry old man moving up and down the court with an agility that would belie his years. Mr. Roos had a love of sports, a love of students, and a love of life. It shown through every day, and everyone who came in contact with him knew it. You didnít have to talk to the man for more than a few minutes to realize he was one of the friendliest, kind, caring, and good-natured people youíve ever met. While soft-spoken, he was keen and observant, and always complementing all the intramural competitors for their skills.

I came to know Mr. Roos quite a bit better this past summer. His 12-year old son, Andrew, played on the same baseball team as my younger brother. At one of the first games of the season, I sat down on the bleachers next to my mom, and on the other side of me was Mr. Roos, cheering on the team. I had a long conversation with him throughout that game, and we talked mostly about baseball. I had met the man only a few times at intramurals, but he gave me so much encouragement with the impending varsity baseball tryouts. Just talking to him for a few minutes, he gave me numerous inspiring complements, just like he would every night at intramurals.

This year at the basketball intramural night, Roos came up to me again. He wanted to thank my father (the coach of Andrewís baseball team) and me for all that we did. He said that the encouragement we gave Andrew this summer kept him excited about baseball. I was shocked that he mentioned me in particular, because I had worked with his son only a few times throughout the course of the season. But like Roosí involvement, that was all it took. Just a few meetings, a few hours spent talking and enjoying sports can make all the difference. Roos credited my dad with helping his son through positive encouragement, and Roos did the same for so many other students. Hempstead has lost a great man, but the memories of this beloved Mustang will live on forever.

- Josh Weinhold

Phillip Roos. Mr. Roos. Coach Roos. The Rooster. Best friend. Colleague. Teacher. Uncle. Cousin. Father. Husband. Phillip Roos.

While I knew Mr. Roos by none of these names, his impact on me was nevertheless as profound as anyone else could claim. I did not have him in class, or in tennis, or as family, but he holds a title in my heart just as powerful as any of the above. Inspiration.

One Monday night in early winter freshman year I ventured into the gym to test my skill at badminton. Shy, unsure, and nervous I walked through the gym doors ten minutes late only to be greeted by a smile that I will never forget. There was Mr. Roos, giving instruction and rules for singles badminton, excited as a young child at first snow. I didnít understand his excitement then. Why would a fifty-some year old man be so thrilled about watching some high school students mess around playing badminton? It wasnít until this year, another Monday night in early winter did I even begin to understand that smile, that sparkle in his eye.

The evening started off as usual. I walked in ten minutes late. Mr. Roos was explaining the out of bounds lines with the same words, the same expression, the same sheer joy that I had heard the pass two years. After the rules were explained, he reminded everyone if they got to a red line on the bracket they would get a ribbon and be in the yearbook, just as he had reminded us the last two years. After the first matches were announced, I caught a glimpse of a sparkle, a glimmer in his eye as he watched each of the sixteen teams play their hearts out like it was the state championship football game. I was baffled; I still didnít fully grasp why this sparkle was there.

The evening went on the same as the last two years; the only difference was that I actually won a game. The wins kept coming and my partner and I ended up with third place. After our final match, I took a second to catch my breath and look myself over. I was drenched with sweat from head to toe, I had a 2 large scrapes on each knee from diving for the shuttlecock, and I was so exhausted I thought I would collapse. Then I looked at Mr. Roos, and what I saw amazed me. There he was, all 58 of his years, running cross court as fast as he could to swat a winner back at the opposing team. Then everything made sense. The smile, year after year. The sparkle, year after year. That glimmer in his eye, year after year. I knew what it was. Passion. I looked at my bleeding knees, the small pool of sweat quickly growing on the floor beneath me, and I understood. The same sparkle that for two years I so yearned to understand looked back at me from my pool of sweat. Mr. Roos had taught me passion, and I understood. Passion for badminton, passion for family, passion for life. It was truly a moment I will never forget in my life. This epiphany changed me forever. And what did I do after wiping the stinging sweat from my eyes? I challenged Mr. Howes to a game of badminton.

Everyone who knew Mr. Roos saw this passion in him each day. Just two weeks ago, Mr. Roos was still looking forward to coaching a tennis team to the state tournament. After retiring from teaching last year, he had to come back to teach a few classes each day. I can only envy both the tennis team that shared his joy each spring and his students whose lives will be a little different after just being in the presence of Mr. Roos, and thank his family for sharing a man that has had such an impact on my life.

Mr. Roos didnít teach me algebra. He didnít teach me to hit a backhand. He didnít teach me how to tie a fishing lure to my line. But he taught me something forever more important than these. He taught me passion, and now that the dripping sweat has turned to tears, I realize the lesson he taught me can never be repaid. Thank you Mr. Roos, and I hope you can be there with us next winter on Monday nights.

- Matt Stemper