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You are here: Home Section Table School News Beloved History Teacher Eric Rothschild Passes Away at 81
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Beloved History Teacher Eric Rothschild Passes Away at 81

steparty4Elizabeth Gruber and Rothschild at the 45th Anniversary Party for STEPEric Rothschild, a beloved teacher, dedicated volunteer and lifelong resident of Scarsdale passed away on Monday October 29, 2018 at the age of 81. Rothschild grew up in Scarsdale, attended school here and eventually returned to teach, after graduating from Harvard in 1958 and serving a tour of duty in Korea.

A member of the Scarsdale High School class of 1954, Eric was a history teacher at the high school from 1964 to 1998 and served as chair of the Social Studies Department from 1973 to 1998. A profile of Rothschild published in the New York Times in September 1986 called him “a rare teacher.” In 1966 he was instrumental in starting the STEP program (Student Transfer Education Plan) and welcomed the first students from the deep South. He went on to serve on the STEP Board and eventually became its President. Following his retirement he continued to be an active member of the STEP Board.

In 1973 Rothschild and his wife and two sons moved to Greenacres where he joined the Greenacres Association. Using his experience as head counselor at Camp Androscoggin, Rothschild coached baseball in the Recreation Department league. Following in his mother Amelie’s footsteps, he served on many community organizations and eventually became the official Village historian. He was often called upon by the Committee for Historic Preservation to provide history on homes in the Village. His exceptional contribution to the life in Scarsdale was recognized in 2007 with his selection as the recipient of the Scarsdale Foundation's Scarsdale Bowl Award.

After he retired he became an active member of the Scarsdale Alumni Association as President from 1999 to 2005, as Secretary in 2006 and as Chair of the Distinguished Alumni Committee from 2006 ad 2006. He was well known in the community for selecting and presenting annual distinguished alumni awards to accomplished Scarsdale alumni.

Michael Blumstein, a member of the SHS Class of ’74 said this about Rothschild, “Eric’s dedication, knowledge, enthusiasm and warmth were second-to-none. Eric made history burst alive in room 232 of Scarsdale High School, and so many of us will remember him with love and gratitude.”

Longtime resident Anne Lyons remembered Rothschild saying, “He was a mentor to me when I was a young mom at Greenacres. We use to chat at the park in the afternoon. He loved to engage the young moms to see what were the trends of the day. He was curious, always learning, studying and probing. He was a collector of information. But most of all he was a natural teacher.

He pushed me outside my comfort zone, always challenging me in my thinking. He also loved to share stories from his days at Scarsdale High School as a student and a teacher. I never had him as a teacher but I did have him as a friend.”

At the 50th reunion of the Scarsdale High School Class of 1968, held this year from October 12 -14, Diana Raphael remembered Rothschild, saying “I never had a teacher like Mr. Rothschild again. On the first day of class he threw the history text book into the trash can and said we would be using all original sources.”

In November 2011, STEP held its 45th anniversary celebration and honored Rothschild. At the time, SHS alum Steven Schnur kicked off tributes from Rothchild’s fan club. Although Schnur regretted that he never experienced Rothschild in the classroom, he said they had since forged a relationship at their favorite haunt, The Scarsdale Library. Schnur praised Rothschild for “nurturing what is best within us.” Former student Tom Vogel spoke of Rothschild, “not as a caretaker; he’s a creator.” He urged students to “do your own research, put yourself in others’ shoes and go out of your comfort zone.” Another former student Lyndon Tretter described Rothschild like “Tom Sawyer getting kids to paint the fence; he made them believe it could be cool to study hard.”

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