Donn Rojeski joins the FC staff
Beginning last year second semester, Donn Rojeski, formed the debate team, as an after school activity for students who were interested. This year, the team has grown into a elective that students can now take during school hours.
Donn Rojeski was passionate about argument and debate at a young age. He dreamed of attending law school and one day becoming a lawyer, despite the difficulties of the profession. He stated that he knew in his childhood that rhetorical logic would become his lifelong ambition.
“By fourth grade I knew I wanted to go into law,” Rojeski said. “I viewed it as a stepping stone to whatever else I wanted to do. Debate was just natural. I guess I just have a little bit of an argumentative spirit.”
Rojeski was born in Kearney, Nebraska to school teacher Doris Rojeski and her husband, Max. From an early age, Rojeski was interested in the art of debate. The majority of his friends were also rhetoric and law devotees. In high school, he and his best friend cultivated their skills by joining the debate club.
Rojeski says he remembers the club as one of the activities he enjoyed most.
“I have debated in high school and all through college,” Rojeski said. “It was one of my favorite things. I considered myself a debate buff, in some sense, because we were traveling from the first of November to the first of April. We practically went to a debate every weekend all over the country.”
After a quiet childhood and graduation from Kearney High School, Rojeski attended the University of Nebraska and Northern Illinois University where he studied debate. He then returned to Nebraska to study law.
His education was interrupted in 1967 when he was drafted to Vietnam and trained to be a fire direction officer for the artillery. This involved both mathematical calculations of weaponry and providing coordinates to shooters on the field. He served for two years and was thankful to return to America at the end of that time. Unfortunately he developed tinnitus, a hearing condition characterized by ringing in the ears from his time of service.
Rojeski says that his involvement in Vietnam left him with some very painful memories that are typical of many veterans.
“Things happen in war that you would like to forget and sometimes you can’t,” Rojeski said. “I can’t say that I have any major issues with anything in particular but at the same time there are things I won’t talk about.”
Upon his return, Rojeski earned his law degree and began to practice in government and private law. He continued this lifestyle for several years during which, he met his wife.
Hallie Rojeski, current teacher of FC’s Junior High Leadership, bible and history was introduced to Donn by a friend who was dating one of his friends. They were married in Denver in 1972 This year will be their 43rd anniversary.
Hallie says that having her husband work with her is a wonderful experience.
“It?s great having him here,” Hallie said. “It?s easier to share what?s going on at school because now he has a lot greater understanding of it.”
Besides debate Donn and Hallie both follow sports. Donn is a long term San Francisco Giants fan and follows the Denver Broncos as well. He also reads an average of 100 books per year from a variety of genres.
Donn decided to end his law profession soon after he and his wife became born-again Christians. He says that the moral obligations of Christianity often conflicted with the circumstances he dealt with as a lawyer.
“During this time my wife and I became Christians,” Rojeski said. “I simply could not continue my practice on Christian principles given the circumstances that we were in. Then we came up to Fresno and I attended the Mennonite Brethren Seminary here at Master Divinity.”
After several years working with Mennonite Brethren Church as an assistant pastor, Greek Instructor, and plan advisor, Rojeski retired. Recently he was contacted by FC about a teaching position. Due to his connections to the school, he was familiar with most of the teachers and culture.
For Donn, it has been difficult to find students interested and able to take part in his debate class. He plans to teach some students independently. Rojeski says that it is imperative to establish a debate team and spark an interest in the class this year.
“It’s a big challenge finding students who have room in their busy schedules to take it on because we didn’t have any notice of it in the spring,” Rojeski said. “We are going to start with a small class, but then I am also going to have a few students who I work with outside of the class setting. My hopes for this year are that we can get a foothold in the league and have a few students get to tournaments so we can grow substantially in the years to come.”
Rojeski says that debate is an important class that will prepare students for both future courses and real life confrontations.
“If you look at the objectives of Fresno Christian for the students, I can?t think of any class other then debate that reaches everyone of them, from excellence in academics to effective communication,” Rojeski said. “We are in a Christian league, so there is a spiritual emphasis on it as well. It?s good to look at issues from a technical point of view, but it also important to look at it from an ethical point of view.”
For more information on FC debate team be sure to see Debate team to help improve critical thinking skills.
For more features, read the Aug. 26 article Student run publications gives knowledge, resources to school.
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