BY MICHAEL LLERENA
At the end of this school year, First Aid teacher and athletic trainer Robert Fleischer will be retiring after having served on the Cooper City High School faculty since the school’s inception in 1971.
“I’ll miss the people most of all; the students and the faculty,” Fleischer said. “It’s just a super place to come to work every morning. It’s really breaking my heart to be leaving.”
Fleischer was originally hired as a Physical Education teacher and athletic trainer, though he was on the cusp of graduating high school at the time. He gained experience as an athletic trainer with the New York Yankees during their spring training sessions, as well as with San Francisco Giants, who gave Fleischer a scholarship to attend Florida Atlantic University. His position on the CCHS faculty was made official upon his official graduation from high school. Fleischer has a Bachelor’s Degree in education, with an emphasis on physical education. He has attended both Miami Dade College and Florida Atlantic University. While attending college, Fleischer also worked as an athletic trainer.
Fleischer originally didn’t intend to retire this year, but a change to the Broward County Schools retirement policy due to budget issues forced his hand.
“Approximately four to five years ago, I entered a program called ‘Drop,’ a retirement program for teachers,” Fleischer said. “At the time I entered, they were allowing teachers to work for eight years. I knew that only five years were guaranteed, but everyone at that point was working eight. I had it all planned out to work the eight and last year the superintendent said no more, only five for everyone, so that’s why I’m leaving this year.”
Fleischer’s positive influence extends into the classroom environment and into the minds of his students.
“He actually made learning about First-Aid interesting,” junior Stevie Dulasky said. “Fleischer knew how to put everything very simply and in a way that you could understand. He’s a great teacher and I wish that he could stay.”
In addition to his students, reverence for Fleischer can be seen in the members of the faculty.
“Fleischer has probably influenced more students than most teachers combined,” social studies teacher Charles Cardinale said. “He is truly an invaluable source of life lessons. He always gives you the right answer. Fleischer has been like a mentor to me. To lose him is to lose peace of mind.”
Fleischer’s service to the athletic department has not gone unnoticed by the student athletes at CCHS. In many of the annual athletic banquets, Fleischer is given an informal honor or show of thanks by the players and coaches of the athletics department.
“As an athletic trainer, he worked the longest hours,” senior and varsity linebacker Evan Correale said. “He taught us how to breathe right and rest properly. He could heal a nose, an ankle; he could heal anything. I’d go to him before an actual doctor.”