School board officially accepts $42,000 gift to be used for French immersion experiences
A gift from the estate of the late Jeffrey Rosoff, a former math professor at Gustavus Adolphus College, will help ensure students from Saint Peter Public Schools will continue to benefit, from experiences at the Lac Du Bois French immersion camps at Concordia Language Villages, long into the future.
The Saint Peter School Board officially accepted the gift of $41,957.80 from Rosoff’s estate at their November 19 meeting, and, according to Saint Peter High School French teacher Mary Behrends, this gift will pay $100 for each French camp weekend participant moving forward. Additional support is planned for students interested in CLV’s summer Lac du Bois programs. Rosoff, who was a professor at Gustavus since 1981, passed away on May 16, 2018. During all these years, the Rosoff and Behrends families maintained a close friendship.
Rosoff, whose son David was a 2004 SPHS graduate and very active in the school’s French program, was a strong supporter of Behrends’ program during his son’s time as a student at Saint Peter Public Schools. David Rosoff died in the summer of 2004 from injuries sustained in a car accident, and his father continued to honor his memory by continuing to support the SPHS French program financially as well as endowing the David C. Rosoff Memorial Scholarship given annually to an SPHS graduating senior.
This school year alone, more than 60 students have already benefited from his legacy grants by attending weekend French camps at Lac Du Bois.
“Jeff was a mathematician and a bit of a renaissance man who loved speaking French, and it was a big part of his life,” Behrends said “He loved music as well as woodworking, and was an amazing conversationalist.
“David was a very smart student who was very active with our (SPHS) French department, and Jeff got very involved as well and remained that way long after David passed away and this gift will continue that support probably long past I’m retired.”
Colleen Jacks, who was Jeff’s long-time partner and is currently a biology professor at Gustavus, saw first-hand how much of a supporter he was of the SPHS French program.
“Jeff was a strong supporter of language study and believed that the earlier it was started, the stronger the outcomes were for students,” Jacks said. “Jeff studied several languages himself (German, a little Italian and Spanish), but was always drawn to French, a language he continued to study and speak as an adult - he was a true Francophile.
“He appreciated the cultural and language immersion experience that Lac du Bois of the Concordia Language Villages provided students, including his son David. Jeff appreciated all that Mary Behrends did/does to encourage French study at all levels, including taking groups of students from North, the middle school and high school for weekend immersion camps at Lac du Bois during the school year.
“He was very aware that the cost of this experience was beyond the reach of many families, and he didn't want financial constraints to rob St. Peter students of an experience that he believed would expand their worlds. For a number of years he made an annual donation to the school district to assist students with the tuition for the weekend experiences. His high regard for Mary and her willingness to make these opportunities available to so many students led him to include this bequest to help continue funding students at Lac du Bois in his estate plan.”