Marcia Rosen, an English and journalism teacher at Memorial High School in West New York, was visiting her aunt in Ohio this past July when she heard that she had won the Hudson County Teacher of the Year award.
"I said 'Could you read that again?'" said Rosen about listening to her husband read her the letter from the county stating that she had won.
For the many students who still send Rosen Christmas and birthday cards each year, this award may seem long coming. However, Rosen couldn't believe it.
"I look at this award and say, there are so many others who could have been selected," said Rosen. "It is such an exciting achievement. I just believe that every student can achieve. I just hope that something they do in my classroom will give them the feeling of success."
Rosen was honored as the teacher of the year in Memorial High School and throughout the district. After winning the district title, Rosen was asked to fill out an 18-page application for the county role.
The application asked Rosen to describe her two greatest accomplishments as a teacher. She chose advising The Memo, the Memorial High School newspaper, and opening a co-op nursery school in Ridgefield Park. She was also asked to discuss her philosophy of teaching.
Rosen will be honored by the West New York Board of Education at their Oct. 10 meeting at 7 p.m. in Hudson Hall, located at 6020 Hudson Ave.
Rosen has come a long way since she first began teaching a writing class twice a week at Memorial about 25 years ago.
"I had to kind of get in the instruction before [the band] started playing," said Rosen, remembering her first class at Memorial. Rosen taught a small group of students in the upstairs hallway outside the band room.
Today Rosen teaches English and journalism classes and is the advisor of The Memo.
Rosen became the advisor during the 1985-86 school year after the original advisor decided not to continue in that capacity. A student in Rosen's sophomore English class asked her to take it on.
"I didn't have a background in journalism," said Rosen. "Every year I learn that there is more that I don't know."
Since then, Rosen has gotten involved in numerous journalism education associations to learn more about the subject. After 16 years of advising the newspaper, Rosen can say that the paper has won local, county, state and national awards.
The Memo has won six first place awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, a national association, as well as the Innovative Design Award from the New Jersey Communications and Marketing Association and The Record Outstanding Newspaper Award for Hudson County for the past two years.
"It is very rewarding to look at the first article the students write versus articles written at the end of the year and the confidence they have in themselves," Rosen said.