Pillars of BSA is a mini-series featuring profiles of the leaders who will be leaving BSA this year.
This year, one of the pillars of BSA that will be replaced is the great Debra Rogers, possibly the smartest woman in the building. Every day she saves students from bad grades and anxiety attacks by helping them find textual evidence for their papers or fixing the printer. Ms. Rogers is constantly being our most reliable source.
Ifetayo: How long have you been with BSA?
Ms. Rogers: I’ve been at BSA since Nov 18, 1982 — 33 years
Ifetayo: Why did you first come here?
Rogers: I was an elementary school librarian in a few different city schools from 1977 to 1982 and in June of ’82 there was a massive layoff of librarians, music, art and physical education teachers, and when we got rehired in November I was randomly assigned to BSA in what I consider to be one of the luckiest things ever to happen to me!
Ifetayo: What is the one thing in BSA that has changed the most since your first day?
Rogers: The size of the student body and the size of the building. I’m guessing that in 1982 we were maybe at 200 students (we now have almost 400) and the original school only went to the 5th floor (6 & 7 were renovated later.) [We had] only one elevator and a swimming pool in the basement. We were just much smaller.
Ifetayo: Do you remember what your first day was like? Rogers: My first day was a professional day. Joe Antensen (the school’s first Academic Dean) was holding a department meeting in his office (where the school store is now.) I was immediately taken with the professionalism, intelligence, and enthusiasm of the people at that meeting, and I knew I wanted to be part of that.
Ifetayo: What is your favorite part of working here?
Rogers: My favorite part is and always was the kids: their energy, their beauty, their focus… all of it. I have a unique window because when kids are in the library, they’re not in a classroom or a studio; the pressure’s off and they can be themselves. So many faces, so many stories. I will treasure them.
Ifetayo: Lastly, what’s the next chapter of your life?
Rogers: I am excited and a little scared. BSA has been everything for so long that it’s hard to imagine not being here. I hope to travel, spend more time with my grandsons and the rest of my family, volunteer, stay involved at BSA, and just see what happens..
Ms. Rogers has always been open and willingly to help. Though she may get annoyed with students and vice versa, she will be greatly missed. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication, Ms. Rogers. You have left your mark.
For another look back at Ms. Rogers’ work at BSA check out this profile from last year, part of the series “Humans of BSA.”