Teacher Profile: Eric Froebel

Mr. Eric Froebel: The Traditional Millennial

Sara Caywood, Student Life Reporter/ Editor

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We see him as the first person in the technology office when our Lenovo Thinkpads malfunction. We chant “Froebel! Froebel! Froebel!” when a morning meeting presentation needs technology CPR.

He’s Eric Froebel: Help Desk Technician.

But, he is also, Eric Froebel: “Traditional Millennial.”

“It’s a meme now, but I’m fortunate enough to not live at home with my parents in my basement, ” Mr Froebel said. “I want to do good work. Instead of pushing buttons and making spreadsheets for another faceless company.”

Mr. Froebel attended Alden High School, where he played ice hockey and sang in the chorus. He described his high-school self as “pretty cool” and more of a “class-clown.” He was voted Most Musical in his senior superlatives.

“Especially in a small school like Alden, you have enough people watching out for you that everyone pretty much comes out on a straight path,” Mr. Froebel said. “But they were pretty supportive of you as a person and an individual so I didn’t really have to change much when I became an adult.”

Mr. Froebel believed his high school didn’t have the same level of autonomy at SEM but he still continues to do some of the same activities and have the same values as he did throughout his high school years.

One of these passions which Mr. Froebel continues to fuel is music.

“Music has been a thread throughout my personal development and I don’t really see that changing,” he said. He currently sings for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mr. Froebel doesn’t just see music as notes on a page, rather, he views it as his own way of giving back to the community in a universal language of happiness.

“The work that I put in is only multiplied by the experience of performing and people hearing and enjoying it rather than just myself. I’m not on the front lines but it’s a little piece of something that I do that I hope brings joy to other people.”

After graduating from Fredonia College as a sound engineering major, Mr. Froebel took an opportunity to live and work in Brooklyn, New York.

“It was something I wanted to do and did it,” Mr. Froebel said, “The exposure in New York is that everyone is the big fish in a small pond.”

Working and identifying with various artists just starting off or even those in higher points of their music careers, Mr. Froebel admitted that the reality of his situation wasn’t exactly what he had built up in his mind.

“Real life takes time,” Mr. Froebel said. “It’s good to take a step back sometimes and think maybe I don’t have to achieve everything right now. I had to go in with the mindset that this will take a year or two years to pay off.”

After spending just over two years in Brooklyn, Mr.Froebel moved back to a city more familiar to most of us here at SEM – Buffalo, New York.

Mr. Froebel revealed his surprise and fascinations of the newly transformed downtown Buffalo. Downtown Buffalo was a “wasteland” when he would visit as a high school and college student. “It’s a lot easier to be a young adult in buffalo than it used to be,” he said.

“I mean if you would’ve told me when I was living in Brooklyn that I could come home here and I could be out five nights a week doing anything musically or artistically that I wanted, you know, it’s definitely a change from when I was growing up.”

Mr. Frobel always had a talent and love for IT – he was intrigued by and “messing around” with computers since his high school year. “I was never planning on doing anything IT full time, but it just worked out easy,” he said.

Regardless of the interest and aptitude Mr. Froebel has had for IT, he believes his responsibilities in the world pertain more to education of young people.

Mr. Froebel uses a metaphor of “cube world” to describe his preference for working in more flexible environments, rather than a more corporate office setting.

“I joke with my mom that she’s in “cube world” at First Niagara Bank,” Mr. Froebel said. “It’s just a totally different style. If I was working in a corporate environment, I don’t think I’d be as happy working in IT. Right now, working at a school, is a little more socially beneficial than ‘cube world’ and I try to keep that in mind and be empathetic to people who might not realize that.”

Within this metaphor, Mr. Froebel briefly explained the uncertainties within careers centered around technology.

“There aren’t a lot of uncertainties, especially in IT, ” he said, “Stuff is always changing, in terms of technology. Education is always slower in terms of progress but you have to kind of look further ahead than 5 years, realistically.”

Mr. Froebel expanded on his theory, explaining how he sees his contributions in an educational setting.

“It really comes down to the personal interactions, for me, and it’s a more tangible effort,” Mr. Froebel said. “Knowledge isn’t really locked into going to school and taking these sets of tests. A lot of education is about making connections and becoming a more well-rounded person and having the actual knowledge is going to become less important, because it’s more to have these interpersonal workings.”

Along the lines of social interaction, a strong passion in his life is and always has been, people.

He sees a lot of potential for our generation to be open to all that life has to offer. Additionally, he finds that as a traditional millennial, his focus of personal interactions has helped him grow.

“It comes down to the respect for the students as individuals – and you can’t really foresee how that changes people down the line but just giving that basic respect of,  “you are an intelligent and responsible person. Having that mindset definitely  influences how I interact with the kids.”

While Mr. Froebel is keeping his future plans open, he explains that most things have “ebbed and flowed” throughout his lifetime, depending mostly on who or what is available to him as a resource.

“There’s just so much on the horizon,” he said. “Not even just with technology but with society and how we interact. So much of social interaction is going to be changing, and faster as we hit the next 20 years or so. It’s a telescoping process. I would like to be able to use my skills for good.”

One thing is for certain: wherever Mr.Froebel ends up in his life, he wants to make a difference in the lives of people he encounters.

“I want to do good,” he said. “Any sort of interaction where you can learn something new about a person or they can help you learn something new about yourself or what you’re doing, those are the things you can’t recreate with a phone or a computer screen.”