HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - For one Hasbrouck Heights teacher, her talent is extending from sharing in the classroom, to a larger stage. Shannon Rodenberg, American Sign Language teacher at Hasbrouck Heights Middle School, is taking her signing to "America’s Got Talent."
“I am extremely excited for Ms. Rodenberg and this amazing opportunity that she has to perform on "America’s Got Talent,"" said Joseph Mastropietro, Hasbrouck Heights Middle School principal. "Not only is she our American Sign Language teacher in the middle school, but she has also served as a Language Arts/Special Education teacher in the district.”
Her segment, set to air on the next season of "America’s Got Talent," will include her singing while signing. Originally, Rodenberg never saw herself reaching this, observing, “I never considered it until someone submitted my information and a video without my knowledge. I've always had stage fright.”
Her stage fright though, did not stop a family member from sharing Rodenberg’s talent all on their own.
“A family member submitted a video of me to the show,” explained Rodenberg, who was unaware that the video was initially sent in. “I deleted the email request from the show at first thinking it was a spam email and was contacted to go through the motions of auditioning.“
For her students, this can be seen as an inspiring moment.
“My name is Myles Bennett, and I am a student and a huge fan of Mrs. Shannon Rodenberg! When she is having class, she is always very nice, extremely helpful, and really cares about us. I think America's Got Talent made the right choice to let her go to the next round on the show. Good Luck Mrs. Rodenberg!,” the sixth grader shared.
As a part of the school community, Mastropietro explained, Rodenberg has also taken her knowledge of American Sign Language to larger audiences.
“After her first year working in Hasbrouck Heights (three years ago), Ms. Rosenberg came to me with the idea of hosting an “American Sign Language for First Responders Night,” which took a ton of work in coordinating. The night turned out to be a huge success,” continued Mastropietro, “First Responders from Hasbrouck Heights, as well as all over the county, state, and even New York City/State came to this event in order to learn the basics of Sign Language to best assist them in communicating with the deaf and/or hard of hearing. The night was completely facilitated by our Middle School ASL Club students and the positive feedback and response from this night was simply amazing.”
Rodenberg hopes that her making it to the big stage can send a message to her students about how far they can go and what they can achieve.
“It's definitely a nerve wracking feeling. However, I hope it inspires students to go after and take that one chance that they may be nervous about. The worst you can be told is ‘no’, and keep trying. Sometimes you never know the potential you have until you're put into a position to find out,” Rodenberg shared.
And the Hasbrouck Heights Middle School community stands behind her.
“Of all the contributions Ms. Rodenberg has made to our school and district, I am most proud of her genuine care for and unique ability to make positive connections with so many of our students. I wish her the best of luck on her upcoming performance with AGT,” said Mastropietro.