Brother Charles "Chuck" Roggemann
Outside of his commitments of his spiritual life, Brother Charles Roggemann (or Brother Chuck as he has been affectionately known), has dedicated his life to Catholic education and the profession of teaching.
His introduction to teaching occurred at the same time America was emerging from the end of World War II. By the time Brother Chuck had retired from teaching in 1995, over 10,000 students had passed through his sphere of influence. He reached them all in ways that can be only vaguely described.
This is a man who doled out life lessons with prolific rapidity and gave his students continual academic challenges such as his trademark "the word of the day" designed to keep young minds sharp. For nearly two decades, beginning in the mid-1950's, Brother Chuck was a cornerstone faculty member at Trinity High School in Brooklyn, New York. While there, he taught French English, but English was his major. His highly unique, intellectual and effervescent personality was not common in normally strict catholic high schools in those days. Brother Chuck was one of those rare combinations of educator and entertainer; his students were either laughing or deep in reflection. Yet either way, they were learning. His former students have called Roggemann "both dramatic and inspiring." They not only learned classic words like "Macbeth," they crawled inside the world created by Shakespeare. This experience would happen over and over again in the classroom of Brother Charles Roggemann.
Charles Roggemann was born in the Ozone park area of Queens, New York on September 17, 1923. He soon learned what it meant to share, since he grew up in a family of ten siblings (five brothers and four sisters) At only 15, he left school to join the Marianist Brothers where he continued as a high school postulant in Beacon, New York. His mother raised Charles and his brothers and sisters with a strong devotion to the Virgin Mary. He and all his siblings were baptized with the name of Mary. At his Confirmation he took the name Joseph, giving him two-thirds of the Holy Family, as he now says, represented in his name.
His time in the Society of Mary began in 1939. The rules were so strict in those days, Brother Charles was unable to go home for frequent visits, and he had no other choice except to write letters home. It was during the 1940's while he was in his Novitiate, that Brother Chuck became a skillful communicator via the written word. Writing letters and postcards were his only recreation and he soon adopted the English language as if it were some kind of soul mate.
Trinity High School closed in 1972, a victim of the neighborhood and hard financial times. He was re-assigned to Chaminade Madonna High School in Hollywood, Florida. It didn't take long for Brother Charles to build a name for himself at Chaminade Madonna High School. People started recognizing what a great teacher he was, and now, years later after he stopped teaching, Brother Chuck is a kind of folk hero to its alumni and faculty.
Now in his 80's, he still works in the library, although he finally retired from teaching in 1995. His love of the written word and the art of language remain as keen today as always. Brother Chuck also remains in the hearts and minds of the countless students who experienced his amazing talent in the classroom.