Unsung Heroes: Supporting others through hidden compassion, constant connection


Ella Peabody

Rosenhagen, along with her ever constant, beaming smile.

At HHS there are many support systems, all with the same goal in mind: helping students to be the best versions of themselves. This comes in many different forms, depending on the student’s varying needs, abilities, and talents–whether those be social, academic, or something completely different. Many students, for instance, seek additional support for neurological differences, including autism; and disabilities, such as visual, hearing, and physical disabilities. For some, daily tasks require a different or unique approach.

Marie Rosenhagan, HHS’s Special Education Instructional Assistant, holds this role close to heart. This means working one-on-one with students and considering their individual requirements, with sensitivity. “My current position,” said Rosenhagan, “requires that I keep close contact with students, keeping all special documents and personal issues in the utmost tender care,” and while the job is a big responsibility, she says that the relationships made with these kids are what makes it all worth the while. 

For Rosenhagen, being at HHS wasn’t always part of her career plan. Relationships, and one in particular, compelled her to move.  

Rosenhagen, former substitute teacher and elementary school helper, has been with Fort Thomas Independent schools for 23 eventful, but passionately loving years.

Her main goal, she said, even if it proves challenging, is keeping deep connections with students. This commitment is shown in countless ways. Talking with parents to ensure she has a firm hold on the students’ at-home life, even learning portions of sign language. Helping her to better understand children with hearing impairment. This has proved to be one of her most difficult challenges, but she puts it in stride, for she knows its end result will help both herself and the attachment she forms with the students, which she deeply cares about. 

Mary Ryan, a Special Education teacher, who works alongside Rosenhagen, sharing the special education staff said that Rosenhagen truly goes above and beyond for the students she loves, but is also ready to do whatever it takes to ensure the happiness of those children. 

“Mrs. Rosenhagen is the type of person that rises to any challenge – whether it’s providing accommodations to students, or giving emotional support to any student that crosses her desk.” 

She ends by saying that Rosenhagan shows up to work and always gives 110% to the cause every day, with illuminating energy. 

Rosenhagans’ deep bond with students continues, however, with an always present eye on their successes. Making sure she can stick with them even as time goes by. “After spending a good many years in elementary schools with students I had become close to, I decided to stay at the high school level, after to be with one particular student until they graduated,” She later said that she decided to ultimately stay at the high school and continued to work as an assistant in the special education classroom because she loved the atmosphere and the somewhat closer proximity she had with her students. 

Contently residing at HHS, with the powerful relationships made, Rosenhagan marches on. Ready to help in any way she can, but most of all, being positive reinforcement. Turning daily, students frown upside down, she said. Each contact she makes serves as a radiant energy, beaming through each bit of positivity Rosenhagen exudes. From her gleaming smile to her comforting hand, this love and care are diffused as she strides; much like a hero, with a bold solace of energy, but with the most tender of hearts up to the battle.