By Peter Bloch
Robin Schauffler, OES’ service learning coordinator, former Junior English teacher, and every lazy senior’s worst nightmare, will be sorely missed long after she leaves our community.
While many people know of her time at OES, her background is not as well known. “Service has been a part of my life since childhood” said Robin in an interview earlier this week. As it turns out, Robin’s father became a teacher at the Hillside school, which is now our school rival, Catlin Gabel, and Robin cultivated her early love for service at school. “When I was five,” Robin recalled, “I got my first job at the school rummage sale. I had to put puzzles together to find out which ones had missing pieces and which ones we could sell.” Catlin Gabel used to hold their rummage sales as a way for people to sell cheap goods in order to raise money for the school’s tuition and financial aid program, and so at five years old, Robin started her journey of lifelong service.
Through the years, Robin spent most of her time volunteering, whether she was providing education and support for the American Friends Service committee, or teaching English as a foreign language in Mexico. However, her most interesting undertaking was running her traveling school. To teach, she purchased a 66 passenger bus, rearranged the seats to resemble a classroom, and taught on the road in between service gigs. “We did a lot of service projects,” said Robin, “we did everything from working for the Bureau of Land Management to helping out the forest service’s.” Below is a picture of “Bert,” the bus used for the traveling school.
Here at OES, Robin has “a fantastic job,” and at times, she finds it so exciting that she can only describe it as entering a horse race. “It entails inspiring, facilitating and urging both students and faculty to use their power for good,” Robin finally described. “In chart of essential competencies, about 90% of those are directly addressed by service learning. Through my work, I think I can help the school achieve its mission.”
Her record speaks for itself at times, really emphasizing that since day one, Robin has been bridging gaps between ages, cultures, poverty levels, and education levels her entire time. Despite having finished all of my required OES service, I know that I have only scratched the surface of true service. Although it might be cliché, I really do hope that I can find myself the way Robin has, and I know that everyone admires her dedication for service work.
It is a true tragedy that OES will be losing one of its most dedicated members of its community, but there is a silver lining. Kara Tambellini, our beloved Co-Dean of Students for the 2016-2017 academic year will become our next service learning coordinator. According to Robin, Kara has been “instrumental in orchestrating the seniors’ science fair service day,” and stated that this change is nothing short of “awesome” for the OES community.
In retirement, Robin says she hopes to write for Street Roots, a newspaper that aims to help out homeless people in downtown Portland, travel, spend time with family, but most importantly, she looks forward for more opportunities to continue using her own power for good.
OES will miss you Robin.