Leaving a Legacy

After many years of teaching, math teacher Van Rose continued to inspire students and staff although his career was coming to an end

Tatum Goetting and Matthew Owens


Math teacher Van Rose wrote a math problem on the pale green chalk board as white dust fell to the floor. The chalk made a soft tapping sound softly, occupying the room of silence.
“I took this because they had a cross-country job open, so I wanted to coach in addition to my teaching,” Rose said. “I tell myself when they fire me from teaching calculus, I’m done because teaching is technically my real job.”
At of the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, Rose was the only teacher who had worked at NW since opened in 1969. He has been dedicated to teaching while also serving as the only head cross country coach the school has ever known.
Running at K-State University was an important aspect of Rose’s life. He met many people there whom he can now contact if he needs something.
“I had a student in my class who had Ewing sarcoma; bone cancer, it wasn’t going well. She was a Lance Armstrong fan and I knew my coach knew him,” Rose said. “I contacted Coach and I said ‘Is there anything we can do?’ He told us to call Lance Armstrong’s manager. In two weeks I had a book to this student, signed by Lance Armstrong.”
This incident happened four or five years ago. Unfortunately, the student didn’t survive, but Rose hoped that his actions made a meaningful impact.
Rose originally planned to be an architect, but decided that teaching math was more practical for him.
“Math was always good for me,” Rose said. “I had a great teacher in school.”
Rose taught at SM East for one year before coming to Northwest and has seen many cultural changes throughout his career –– good and bad.
“The screen time is a concern,” Rose said. “I always talk about how much time people spend on the screen.”
The environment here is something that Rose has loved most. He created long-lasting friendships with current and past teachers.
“The teachers, administrators custodians are all really nice to me,” Rose said. “You can’t find an environment like this , where you can work with people work hard and enjoy what they do.”
Although he had been teaching for 49 years, he still learns significant life lessons and how to live his life to fullest.
“Mr. Rose is so passionate about what he does and he has passed that on to me. He makes learning so easy and efficient,” senior Cassie Gomer said. “Both of my parents and siblings had Rose as a teacher, so it means a lot that I get to have him too. I also really love the quotes of the day he puts on the front board.”
Rose has formed bonds with students and runners that lasted a lifetime; and is still in contact with many of his past students and runners.
“If I need something, I could go to all of my former runners,” Rose said.
“Seeing kids become successful is really nice,” Rose said. “They think that life and school is too hard and they can’t do it. Then all of the sudden they can do what they had been struggling with and they’re astounded at what they can do.”
Rose hoped the way he treated people made an impact on the school. He wanted to let people know that they matter, and that they made an influence.
“I try to compliment people who have probably never been complimented in their lives for certain work they do,” Rose said. “ I complimented the head custodian on sidewalks because they got cleaned off earlier. He said that I was only the second person that said anything to him. That’s a huge job .”
According to Rose, complimenting and saying hello to people is a gift people can give that doesn’t require any wealth. Rose strived to acknowledge and notice those people and the hard work they do.
“I want to be in the right place at the right time where I can help somebody,” Rose said. “Not getting spiritual, but I want to be the answer to someone’s prayer. I want to look for opportunities where I can pay it forward.”